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Explore this helpful guide to the One of Us Is Lying book series in order to learn everything you need to know about the mega-bestselling young adult dark academia thrillers by Karen McManus that have millions(!) of readers absolutely glued to the pages.

One of us is lying series by Karen m. McManus on a bookshelf.

One of Us is Lying Book Series in Order

one of us is lying book series guide to order and publication date.
  1. One of Us Is Lying (2017)
  2. One of Us Is Next (2020)
  3. One of Us Is Back (2023)

about

Karen McManus is a #1 New York Times and international bestselling author who published her debut novel in 2017. Millions of copies of her young adult thrillers have been sold. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, as well as a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.

How many books are there in One of Us Is Lying series?

The One of Us Is Lying series by Karen McManus is a bestselling trilogy of three books: (1) One of Us Is Lying, (2) One of Us Is Next, and (3) One of Us Is Back.

In what order should I read the One of Us Is Lying series?

You should read the One of Us Is Lying series of three books by Karen McManus in the order in which they were published, as they follow a chronological storyline with many of the same characters: (1) One of Us Is Lying (2017), (2) One of Us Is Next (2020), and (3) One of Us Is Back (2023).

Details About the One of Us is Lying Books

I’ve read the entire One of Us Is Lying trilogy and am here to provide you with answers to common questions, as well as some personal thoughts on Karen McManus’s insanely popular murder mysteries that have delighted both teens and adults.

Discover the details you want (and need) to know about the One of Us Is Lying book series here, including characters, summaries, and reviews.

I have kept these details as spoiler free as possible!

One of Us Is Lying (Book 1 of 3)

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • EW Best YA Book of the Year Selection
  • Buzzfeed Best YA Book of the Year Selection
  • New York Public Library’s Best Book for Teens Selection
  • Popcrush Best Young Adult Book of the Year Selection
  • CBC Teen Choice Book Award Nominee
  • Bustle Best Young Adult Book of May 2017
  • Goodreads Best Young Adult Book of the Year Nominee
  • YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction Book Nominee
  • YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Characters

The main characters in One of Us Is Lying are five high school students:

  • Simon: an outsider who runs a gossip app
  • Bronwyn: a smart and ambitious rule-follower
  • Cooper: the jock, who’s a star on the baseball field
  • Nate: a rebellious rule breaker… with a criminal record
  • Addy: a picturesque beauty

Quick Summary

What is a summary of One of Us Is Lying?

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus transports the reader to Bayview High School, where six very different, and stereotyped, students are serving detention on a Monday afternoon.

When one of them dies there, the remainder become suspects. Their deepest secrets and insecurities are revealed, and their relationships change as they hunt for the truth, which is uncovered in one very suspenseful series of events.

This book uniquely explores coming-of-age in a setting where gossip, judgment, and the desire to seek revenge are plentiful.

Quick Review

One of Us Is Lying has been described as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, and I definitely agree with that assessment. I think that these comparisons, along with the fact that it’s a modern book for modern teens, have made it a book that appeals to multiple generations.

It has a juicy and salacious high school setting, while also offering an addictive mystery, intrigue, and even some suspense. I also felt like I grew to know all of the characters independently really well, and they remain memorable to me to this day.

I recommend it for teens and adults who are looking for a very light and escapist kind of thriller.


One of Us Is Next (Book 2 of 3)

#1 New York Times bestseller

Characters

The main characters in One of Us Is Next include the next wave of students at Bayview High and their families:

  • Maeve: Bronwyn’s younger sister, who is in cancer remission and worried it will return
  • Knox: Maeve’s love interest, who works at a law firm but feels emasculated and lacks confidence
  • Phoebe: a teen grieving the loss of her father and feeling guilty about her actions
  • Emma: Phoebe’s older sister, who also struggles with grief, along with revenge and other demons
  • Derek: Emma’s ex-boyfriend
  • Brandon: Phoebe’s love interest and a jock at the school
  • Owen: Phoebe’s lonely little brother, who also struggles with grief, and spends too much time in front a screen

Quick Summary

What is a summary of the book One of Us Is Next?

In One of Us Is Next by Karen McManus, it’s a new school year at Bayview High School. The gossip forums heat up quickly and a spiteful new digital game of Truth or Dare challenges this wave of students, threatening to reveal their secrets if they don’t play along.

Phoebe is already grieving the loss of her father when her secret is revealed, placing additional strains on her family relationships. And Maeve is already worried about her cancer returning when her secret is revealed, jeopardizing her relationship with Knox.

When yet another student death occurs, the lives of these students and their families intertwine in ways you won’t see coming, as they seek the truth behind the death while they cope with their problems.

Quick Review

One of Us Is Next has a deeper, darker, and more mature feeling than One of Us Is Lying, but it still has the same mix of salaciousness and mystery that fans crave.

I really enjoyed the new characters, as well as the return of familiar faces, and the way McManus incorporated the very real situations and emotions teenagers can face, as well as how they are exacerbated by common high school challenges like cyberbullying and gossiping.

This book also had surprising twists along the way as the storylines converged. It’s hard for a sequel to ever be as good as the first in a series, but this was a great follow-up!


One of Us Is Back (Book 3 of 3)

Quick Summary

What happens in One of Us is Lying book 3?

In One of Us Is Lying book 3, One of Us Is Back by Karen McManus, the entire Bayview crew of students and young adults are home for the summer, and the drama is as hot as the sun.

A billboard warns of a new game to be played, and when someone goes missing, it’s abundantly clear that it’s no joke. An unexpected return from a familiar face also threatens them.

And, of course, there are more secrets to be revealed as these beloved characters further come of age.

Quick Review

One of Us Is Back exemplifies what McManus has done best in this popular series of books — tease out the minds and lives of young characters as they grow and change while also offering the reader some thrills and intrigue. It’s a tall order to mix these two, and she’s more than succeeded at both to the delight of millions of readers who, like me, devoured the One of Us Is Lying book series.

This one didn’t feel as immersive to me, particularly since it follows so many storylines and characters from the first two books, but it still follows the same theme that secrets can never keep and provides the same satisfaction for the reader, particularly in closing out the beloved series.

Age Rating

If you’re a parent wondering if One of Us Is Lying is appropriate for your child, then check out the answers to frequent age rating questions below.

What age is appropriate to read One of Us Is Lying?

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is a young adult mystery/thriller book that is generally appropriate for teenagers aged 14 to 18. Adults over 18 can also enjoy it.

What grade level is One of Us Is Lying?

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is a young adult mystery/thriller book that is generally appropriate for high school students in grades 9 through 12.

Conclusion

Now you know the One of Us Is Lying book series order plus important details about reading these popular young adult thrillers, as well as what to read next.

As a reminder, if you still need the books, you should check out a boxed set of the One of Us is Lying book series:

And, if you already read this series and are deciding what to read next, you can’t go wrong with another Karen McManus treasure! Try The Cousins or You’ll Be the Death of Me.

Keep the conversation going! Share your thoughts on One of Us Is Lying and what to read afterward in the comments below.

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