Book Review: One of Us is Next by Karen McManus

“I’m still holding my own phone, pressed against his chest now, and it chimes in my hand before I can answer. When I pull my head back to look at the screen, there’s another message from an unknown contact. But this time, there’s no simultaneous text tone from Brandon’s pocket. Phoebe Lawton, you’re up first. Text back your choice: should I reveal a Truth, or will you take a Dare?”

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Click here for the book details on Goodreads.

One of Us is Next is the brilliant sequel to One of Us is Lying, which I read and loved ages ago. I was surprised when I saw there was going to be a sequel and very intrigued to see how Karen was going to create another book in this series that would have a whole new story with the same impact of One Of Us is Lying. It worked really well.

The pupils, teachers and families of Bayview are still recovering from the death of Simon and the shocking revelations of the first book, when a copycat appears with a game: Truth or Dare. If you receive the anonymous text, you have 24 hours to respond and take a Dare or have a Truth revealed. The Truths being revealed are really dark, and things get increasingly dangerous.

There are speculations about who is behind it, people trying to link it to what happened before with Simon, and possible links to a chat room called Vengeance is Mine. I was hooked, I was tense and on the edge of my seat. A few times I thought I had guessed who was behind it but when the reveal came, it knocked me sideways. It is a clever and devastating twist. Part of me hopes for another book from Bayview just to find out what happened next!

I loved getting to see where the old four characters (Addy, Bronwyn, Cooper and Nate) had ended up, how they were coping, and what their lives were like now. But, the focus is very much on the new characters: Phoebe, Knox and Maeve. I enjoyed their different perspectives.

Maeve was by far my favourite. Of course, we already knew her as Bronwyn’s little sister who was recovering from cancer, but in this book we get to know her a lot more. We see how vulnerable she is, how scared she is and the effects that being ill have had on her. She is living in constant fear of her cancer returning, hiding possible signs of a relapse and privately panicking whilst trying to work out how not to upset her family. I worried for her, and I really wanted to reach into the pages and give her a huge hug. I also loved seeing her relationship with Bronwyn develop as they are both growing up and as Maeve starts to experience some of the horror Brownyn went through at school with this “game” of Truth or Dare.

There is a lot going on in this story. It is dark, there are some major twists, some really sinister goings on. It had me on the edge of my seat. If you enjoyed the first book from Bayview, you will love One of Us is Next.

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