'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 7 June 2024

Review: One Of Us Is Back

The last in a trilogy of YA books by bestselling, can-do-no-wrong author Karen M McManus, this novel is compelling in every way. And bonus - it works as a standalone title, too.

In essence, this is a murder mystery with teenagers front and centre. Oh sure, there are some adults lurking around the edges but they tend to just make the lunches or drink too much. Most of the time, at the heart of this book are the ‘Bayview Crew’ teens and their people.

The characters are well drawn with believable backstories and identifiable quirks. The narrative is told progressively from multiple points of view, which works really well to both build tension and keep the reader informed of important plot twists and turns. 

In fact, this book is structured like a symphony - with the orchestra returning to familiar riffs and themes as well as veering off in intense, and interesting, directions.

The plot is complex and brilliantly executed, with loads of garden paths, mysteries, red herrings and jaw-dropping surprises.

I was particularly glad of the ‘Contacts’ character list at the front of the book, which I referred back to constantly. And although such devices are annoying in some books, in this one the payoffs were totally worthwhile!

As well as a rollicking, satisfying read, this story is almost a master class in how to structure a perfect murder-mystery. Settle in, because you won’t want to put it down.

Highly recommended.

Title: One Of Us Is Back
Author: Karen M McManus
Publisher: Penguin, $19.99
Publication Date: 19 March 2024
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241583366
For Ages: 13 +
Type: Young Adult