One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

Book Description:

Published: May 30, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review –

Detention takes a dark turn when the student behind Bayview High’s infamous app About That dies from a peanut allergy—and every witness has a different reason for wanting him gone.

Although the author’s debut novel initially feels like a rehashing of The Breakfast Club, with five teens from very different social circles brought together through detention, there is no bonding through library dance parties or atypical lipstick application. Instead, Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy witness Simon collapse and ultimately die after taking a sip of water. When police discover the drink was laced with peanut oil—and that Simon was going to reveal life-ruining secrets about all four students on his gossip app the next day—they go from unfortunate witnesses to top murder suspects. With each teen (“brain,” “criminal,” “jock,” and “princess,” respectively; “walking teen-movie stereotypes,” as Simon says) narrating alternating chapters, the novel offers insights into common adolescent struggles—from the pressure to succeed to an alcoholic, out-of-work father—as well as an unlikely romance and opportunities for self-reflection as the investigation escalates.

Although the language and plot sometimes border on cliché, this fast-paced blend of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and classic the  John Hughes  film, will leave readers racing to the finish as they try to unravel the mystery on their own.

The ending is surprising and makes for a very good “who-dun-it” read.

 

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Because of Pat

 

 

Because of Pat

 

i feel free

and my soul is light.

i have finally discovered

what life is truly for.

see the smile on my face ?

it’s because of you.

when i’m with you

nothing else matters because

i love you –

and it’s wonderful –

for love is life

and life is love

and things are made to be discovered –

and i have discovered you.

 

written by me 3/27/1968

Mixed Emotions

 

Mixed Emotions

 

i love you

but at the same time i hate you

you love me but always deny it.

sometimes you make me smile-

but mostly you make me cry-

you hurt me by saying you love another.

 

i ignore everything you say

it’s very hard to find the truth

among your lies.

 

your voice lingers in my ears

long after we talk

for i want to cherish all the

words you say – the good and the bad.

 

you place yourself above me

but you are more lonely than i

for i have many who are equal to me

but you will not admit to being equal to

anyone.

 

i love you-

but at the same time – i hate you.

i think it is best not to think

seriously about you –

that way the tears will remain

inside.

 

written by me  8/1968

Finished

 

 

Finished

 

I’m over you

i never thought that it could happen

once and for all i’m over you

no more will my memories haunt me –

i won’t let them.

 

now i can speak your name and no

tears fall from my eyes

and if i chance to see you – i can pass you

off as just someone i once knew.

 

     we met, we loved, and now we’ve parted.

i’m not sad-

perhaps if we had met at a later time

things would have been different –

but we met too soon

we weren’t ready for love and now i know

that i wasn’t really ready either or –

else i was too ready.

 

written by me 9/3/1967

 

Dig Deep

 

 

Dig Deep

 

how does i feel to love

somebody that doesn’t love

you?

like’s like playing  a game of

hide and seek –

their love is hidden and you

have to go in and seek it out.

 

it’s like digging for clams in

the desert

or

digging a hole in the sand

and filling it with all

the water of the ocean –

 

it’s like counting all the

stars on a clear night

or

like waiting for a bus

in the middle of lake michigan –

 

it’s like mining for

gold in a field of

oklahoma red clay

or

like selling air conditioners

in alaska.

 

to sum it all up –

it’s like hell.

 

 

written by me 7/14/1967

 

 

Why Am I Waiting ?

 

 

Why Am I Waiting ?

 

i sit here waiting for

the impossible to happen –

but this can’t be happening to me –

what have i done to deserve this ?

is it my fate to wait my life away ?

I hurt inside from holding back my tears.

but why wait ?

it really doesn’t matter any more

i’m used to it now –

so i’ll be here when you decide to love me.

 

written by me 7/10/1967

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Review –

I just finished listening to Without Merit by Colleen Hoover and had tears of joy in my eyes. I had also laughed out loud  at parts of the book and normally I abhor comedy or humor of any kind in books, movies, etc., but every member of the Voss family (the main focus of the book) are so dysfunctional that the humor somehow fit.

Merit Voss lives in a converted church with her father, stepmother, and siblings, and although her parents have been divorced for years, her mother still lives in the basement, struggling with social anxiety.(We initially think she is recovering from cancer) No one in her family is religious, so her brother Utah updates the church marquee every day with fun facts instead of Bible verses. Merit is less accomplished than her identical twin sister, Honor, so she likes to buy used trophies to celebrate her failures. But Honor seems to have a fetish for terminally ill boys, so it’s a surprise to Merit when Sagan, who is perfectly healthy, kisses Merit after mistaking her for her sister—and then reveals that he’s living in their house.

Soon they have another houseguest, Luck, whose connection to the family makes Merit even more convinced she’s living in a madhouse.(He is the half-brother of her step-mother) So why is everyone so angry at her? Merit has a love/hate relationship with her sister. She’s conflicted by her feelings for Sagan, who leaves intriguing sketches  around the house for her to decipher. She’s simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by Luck, who annoys her with his questions but is also her confidant. She can’t sit through dinner without starting a fight; she’s been skipping school for days; and when she decides to give her whole family the silent treatment, Sagan is the only one who notices. In fact, he and Luck are the only people in the house who recognize Merit’s quirks for what they really are—cries for help.(They believe she is suffering from depression) And when Merit takes drastic measures to be heard, the fallout is both worse and much better than she feared. The author  does an excellent job of revealing the subtle differences between healthy teenage rebellion and clinical depression, and Merit’s aha moment is worthy of every trophy in her collection.

Merit is quirky, complex, and frustrating but  will win hearts and challenge assumptions about family dysfunction and mental illness in a life-affirming story that redefines what’s normal.

Five stars!

Side Note – Sagan is swoon worthy and has been added to my list of Book Boyfriends.