13 celebrity memoirs

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading

Celebrity memoirs are iffy.

I’m always a little hesitant to pick up a memoir anyway, because something about it seems oddly arrogant? “I’m super important. People need to know about me.” Are you? I’m not sure.

But I do read quite a few. I love travel memoirs, I’m really drawn to reading about others coping with mental illness, addiction, etc.

And I think there is a lot to be said for certain celebrity memoirs. So I’ve gathered some of my favorites, of varying topics.

In no particular order:

Tina Fey – Bossy Pants

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.” 

I absolutely adore Tina Fey. I vote to remove all forms of government world-wide and name Tina Fey and J.K. Rowling co-captains of the universe. This book is absolutely hilarious, in the most honest way. She’s unfiltered about her experience as a woman in her industry, which I think is so welcome and necessary. She speaks honestly and openly about being a mother. The whole thing is beautiful.

Amy Poehler – Yes Please

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” 

Yaaaasss Amy! Amy Poehler is effing hilarious. I’ve loved her since Baby Mama, and I was ecstatic to get my hands on her book. Her voice and her spirit comes right through when you read it. It’s amazing because the goal isn’t humor. She’s so open and honest about her life, her ex-husband, it’s just beautiful.

Lauren Graham – Talking As Fast As I Can

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I guess what I’m saying is, let’s keep lifting each other up. It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power.”

I don’t see how anyone could not like Lauren Graham. I love Gilmore Girls, have watched it through too many times to count, and I think you can see how Lorelai wouldn’t have been what she is without Lauren. I was so excited for this book! She talks about college, auditioning, and her time on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood (among many other things). So worth the read!

Stephen Fry -Moab Is My Washpot

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, but real power. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform.” 

Ugh. Stephen Fry is just… he’s just amazing. I like some celebrities, but I feel a genuine adoration for this man I don’t know. The book has very dark moments, but is filled with such honestly and lightheartedness. He talks about his life as a young gay man. He talks about time spent in prison. I have had zero of the experiences he has, and I felt connected to every word, like I lived it myself. I can’t say enough about this.

Chelsea Handler – Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed aloud so many times during a nonfiction. Most of this doesn’t actually come from Chelsea, though she has written several awesome books. This one is a collection of stories from her friends about the ways in which Chelsea has lied to them. There is one about a dog and her ex-boyfriend that I have probably read thirty times, and laughed endlessly each time.

Russel Brand – My Booky Wook

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I regret that I didn’t realize that actually they’ve got no power over you at school — it’s all just a trick to indoctrinate you into being a conditioned, tame, placid citizen. Rebel, children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory.” 

I think there is something to be said for Russell’s particular way of writing. His sentences are gorgeous and it obviously takes brilliance to write them. It is so fun to read beautiful, well put-together sentences about things like sex addiction and heroin use. That juxtaposition kills me. This book is just funny. I enjoyed the hell out of reading it.

Lena Dunham – Not That Kind Of Girl

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.” 

This whole book is just so, unbelievably her. If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t like it. But I love her humor, her brutal honesty. If you like Lena, you’ll like this.

Nikki Sixx – The Heroin Diaries

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked, sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control.” 

Nikki Sixx (known best as co-founder of Motley Crue) talks about a year in his life, when his drug addiction was at its peak. I think it’s horribly depressing while being a very adequate portrayal of addiction (though of course, how a rock star does addiction). Lyrics, pictures, artwork, fun extras also inside!

Amy Sedaris – Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.”

This one’s not a memoir, but Amy Sedaris is hilarious.  They’re not real crafts, which isn’t surprising if you’re familiar with Sedaris. They’re crafts no sane person would ever want to do. But it’s so, horribly entertaining.

Neil Patrick Harris – Choose Your Own Autobiography

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“If you had known people would be calling you by your character name for the next twenty years, you might have asked for a different one. Thunderbolt Howser, say, or Dr. Feelgood, or Baron von Sexy Ass.”

This one is a little different, and it’s NPH so are we really surprised? It’s written in the form of a choose your own adventure novel, while still going through his life. Doogie Howser, sexuality struggles. It’s fun and wonderful, just like the man.

Rob Lowe – Stories I Only Tell My Friends

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I’m thinking of how unexpected and yet oddly preordained life can be. Events are upon you in an instant, unforseen and without warning, and often times marked with disappointment and tragedy, but equally often leading to a better understanding of the bittersweet truth of life.” 

So I haven’t been on the Rob Lowe train for that long, considering his insane career. But I have loved him since Parks and Rec, and this book made me love him even more. He is such a genuine, beautiful, unjaded human.

Mindy Kaling -Why Not Me?

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”

I am obsessed with Mindy Kaling, not gonna lie. She is absolutely hilarious. I love to listen to her stances on feminism, race, body issues, anything. I just adore her. So both of her books have been amazingly wonderful for me. I think she is amazing, and should be required reading for women everywhere.

Anna Kendrick – Scrappy Little Nobody

13 Celebrity Memoirs Worth Reading!

“I think I need to become perfect all at once, so I keep getting overwhelmed and putting it off. I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have something hanging over my head. There are usually about thirty to eighty things. Is that normal? Don’t tell me. If it’s not, I’m a jerk. If it is, that’s super-depressing, and I know I’ll just use ‘this is normal’ as an excuse to procrastinate even more.” 

Anna Kendrick is just such a phenomenally funny human. Is it even possible to dislike her? So witty, so brilliant, so honest, just fun. Read it!

What about you?

Do you have a favorite celebrity memoir? A favorite non-celebrity memoir?



Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

Contribute: An Awesome Contribution to the Book World

Contribute (Holo #2) by Kristy Acevedo

Published by Jolly Fish Press; scheduled for July eleventh, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Pages: 330

Wow! I finished both books in this series in three days. They are SO good. I also really like that they’re not too long. I’m finding YA books are getting longer and longer, and a lot of it is for no reason? These books are beautifully written and concise and exactly as long as they needed to be.

SO yesterday I wrote my review of Consider, the first book in this series, and you can read that here.

I found these books on accident, and I’m so glad! They broke my streak of bad books. The sequel did not disappoint!

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

Contribute novel by Kristy Acevedo

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

The holograms lied to everyone on Earth and only Alexandra Lucas knows the truth. Now she’s trapped in the year 2359 without family or friends—worse, without her anxiety medication. Alex attempts to reconcile the marvelous scenery, technological advances, and luxurious living with the knowledge that the holograms weren’t being completely honest—what else are they lying about? With a secret that could shatter her society, Alex tries to find her place among strangers, convicts, and a rebellion striving to bring the holograms down. Alex struggles to find the best way to reveal the truth and reunite with those she loves. But when surrounded by beauty and every convenience, Alex wonders if truth becomes irrelevant in a perfect world.

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

It’s almost even unfair to be judging this one as a sequel! It’s honestly like two stand-alone books with familiar characters. And I like that! The first book is way more focused on the everyday life and what’s happening on Earth. Well, when we start the second, Alex is being transported through the vertex to the new planet, the setting of the second novel.

Consider relies heavily on character building, and less on setting. It almost reads like a contemporary or dystopian, with sci-fi elements.

Contribute, though, is full on sci-fi with fantastic world-building and words like magpod and biohologram. It can’t even be compared to the first book, because they are seriously different genres.

I like that! I have never read a two-part series where the two books differ so drastically. The first book left me so raw and emotional and invested in the characters, and the second gave me the action and world-building I need from a sci-fi. I love it so much. I can’t say that enough.

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

Most characters from Consider are also in Contribute. But other than Alex, the characters from Consider play mostly smaller roles. What’s exciting is that we get a whole new cast of people to love and dislike and count on and be emotional about.

We get another kickass female friendship, this time between Alex and Katherine, a crazy amazing hacker and former convict. We also get a totally innocent, not creepy in the slightest friendship between Alex and Doctor A., an older man. I really, really like odd relationship dynamics, so I dug this one a lot.

I will say that I wasn’t as emotionally invested here. There were some deaths here that, had they happened in the first book, I would have taken a lot harder. But again, the characters weren’t as much the focus of Contribute, and I’m okay with that.

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

is gorgeous in a completely different way from the first. The first had me so emotional and obsessed with Alex’s anxiety (the most realistic depiction of the disorder I’ve seen in fiction, as I mentioned in the first review).

The world-building in Contribute is top-notch. I want to draw fan art. I want to journal about this place. This one also had a lot more going on in terms of a fast-paced plot, and some of the twists had me yelling out loud. Here’s a screenshot of my reading update on Goodreads:

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

I wrote “WHAT?!?!” Because I actually yelled “WHAT?!?!” aloud. There is no greater compliment I can give than yelling/speaking/cursing aloud as I read.

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

Is that there is so much pressure and so many high expectations about a sequel. I ended up giving Contribute four out of five stars. Is that fair? I don’t know. You can see I obviously enjoyed it. I did feel some things were a little rushed at the end, and I can’t describe the feeling I have been left with. It’s possible that discovering a new book you ADORE is an experience that can’t be repeated, so no matter how good the sequel is, it can’t match up. That’s what I’m going with here, because that’s the only explanation I’ve been able to come up with.

I would recommend Consider and Contribute to absolutely everyone!

Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/hot-dog vendor. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.



 

 

Consider: My Happiest Accident of 2017

Consider (Holo #1) by Kristy Acevedo

Published by Jolly Fish Press in 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Pages: 288

Oh my god, y’all! I get to break the streak of bad reviews! Three in a row had really upset me, and I was desperate to find a book I really love to review next. Enter Consider, by Kristy Acevedo!

Funny enough, I found this book on accident. So, I was approved for yet more ARC’s I had forgotten I signed up for. One of which is called Contribute. Now, somehow, when I asked for Contribute on NetGalley, I totally missed that it is a sequel! I hate that, and I am obviously still obligated to read and review it. I have really been craving some sci-fi, so I bought the first book and figured I’d hope for the best. Anyway, this is now perfect timing, because if you haven’t read Consider (and you need to), you can read it before Contribute comes out in July.

Consider novel by Kristy Acevedo

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

As if Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear from the sky, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet they say is on a collision course with earth. How’s that for senior year stress?

The holograms, claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.

To stay or to go. A decision must be made.

With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

I immediately LOVED this concept. I knew right away that part of the fun would be trying to figure this out. Are the holograms lying? Telling the truth? Is there or isn’t there a comet? Regardless of the comet, would I leave to a world I know nothing about? It is SO fun.

In Consider, the holograms show up, complete with portals (called “vertexes” in the book) and say they will remain there until the comet comes, so people can ask them questions and decide whether to go through. The questions and answers are so great, and it really helps add to the mystery of it all. Some of their answers suck, like that you can’t bring your pets (I’m not going ANYWHERE without Buffy, for serious) . Some sound too good to be true, like that there’s no war. It really makes it more exciting to try to figure out how WE feel, as a reader, about what we would do in their shoes.

I also think it’s worth noting that parts of this fall into the “dystopian” category. Now, I am sick of this fo sho. I don’t typically buy dystopian novels at all, anymore. Especially not in YA, particularly because of the “chosen one” trope, which, you know, no fucking thank you. Dystopian works here for a couple of reasons. One, this is about a normal girl and her life and family. She’s not the chosen one, she can’t save the world, it’s just about her life dealing with the aftermath of the arrival of the holograms. Also, we watch this place’s descent into madness, and it’s slow and realistic. It’s not sudden or crazy and horses don’t eat each other. The bad is gradual, the desperation is palpable, and it’s fantastic.

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

Make this SO good, because every character is necessary. How often can you say that?

Alexandra, our narrator, is phenomenal. SO real. Also, she has a significant problem with anxiety, and it is the most accurate portrayal I have ever read. Now, obviously, anxiety is not one-size-fits-all. I can only speak for myself, and I will say that while it is not as bad as Alex’s, I have a significant problem with anxiety as well. Mine happens to be of the same variety as hers, wherein I picture every bad thing that could possibly happen until I’m convinced I’m actually dying. I enjoyed reading about Alex’s attacks, not the least of which because I like to see characters with anxiety and/or depression that are still totally lovable, intelligent, reasonable people. Alex is amazing. I can’t say enough good things about her.

Her relationship with her boyfriend is realistic for their age and situation, which I like. She calls him out when she doesn’t feel he’s treating her anxiety the way he should, which I love, because so many people with anxiety (in my experience) will let people treat them terribly, convinced poor treatment is deserved.

Alex’s relationship with her best friend, Rita, is also wonderful. I LOVE stories about female friendship, and theirs plays a significant role.

Her family. Oh my god. Her dad is one of those characters I absolutely love to hate. I’ve been mentioning, lately, that there are a lot of antagonists that are just boring. Not good, not bad, just blah. I can’t stand feeling meh. I want to love my antagonists (this makes it way more complicated) or I want to reeeeally hate them. Well, I hate Alex’s dad. BUT, I also understand him, and totally see why he is the way he is, and watching his journey is just as exciting as Alex’s. That is awesome.

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

is gorgeous. One thing I don’t mention a lot but is really important to me: metaphors. Nothing irritates me more than overuse of metaphors and similes. No matter how good a story is, if there are too many of these, I can’t stand it. Consider has only a few, and they are REALLY GOOD ONES. They’re sticking with me, they are that good.

The pacing is perfect. There are just enough OMG moments and little bits and pieces I didn’t expect. The ending surprised the actual fuck out of me.

Consider by Kristy Acevedo

Is that I cannot wait to jump into the second book! I’m also terrified. Is there anything scarier than starting the sequel of a book you really love?? So much pressure. Such high expectations.

I would recommend Consider to everyone!

Here’s a link, if you’d like to purchase Consider on Amazon! It’s definitely worth it!

*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/hot-dog vendor. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.

**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.

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As You Wish

As You Wish is Not My Dream Come True

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Published by Sourcebooks Fire and expected to release Jan. 2018

Genre: Magical Realism

Pages: 432

As You Wish

So! Hmm. I, umm. I don’t know, y’all. I’m getting really tired of writing reviews that are somewhere between good and bad. Maybe I’m the problem. I swear I’m only requesting books I’m sure I’ll like! And then, I don’t know. Ugh.

I will say I really enjoyed it for a while. The first chapter hooked me. There is A LOT to love about this book, but I was left feeling very “meh” about it. So… another pro/con list it is!

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

The Premise

I was immediately intrigued by this idea. Because while wish-granting is not even kind of a new idea, I hadn’t seen it like this before. I loved the concept of a whole town making wishes. Before I’d even received the book, I found myself thinking about how that may affect a town. Would they turn wishing into an obsession? A religion? Yes. And I love that shit. Because I’m a firm believer in everyone having something they put all their faith in. For these people, it’s wishing, though wishing seems to have ruined most of their lives.

I think there’s something amazing, too, about the age eighteen. These are kids who have to make the biggest decision of their lives. I know that my dreams and motivations at eighteen were nothing like what they are now, ten years later. What if we had to stick with the choices we made at this insane time where we feel like an adult but are really a child? Well, things would suck. I dig that.

The Characters

Now I’m going to tell you right away that I’m not in the majority here. I read the other reviews and people really don’t like Eldon, our narrator. I have expressed on many occasions that I don’t need to like a character to like a book. And while I don’t like Eldon and wouldn’t want to hang out with him, I understand him. I think that’s what is important. He has clear motivations for being the asshole he is. His confusion and angst make perfect sense.

His best friend Merrill (I can’t with these names, y’all) is great. Hilarious and exactly the weird little conspiracy theorist you expect to live in the middle of nowhere.

The people of the town have such horrific stories and so much regret and I think their brokenness is absolutely beautiful.

The Backstories

In preparation for his wish, Eldon gathers stories about people in the town and their wishes. Everyone pretty much knows everyone’s wishes, but he gets the backstories, the why’s and the wherefore’s. These chapters change voice and are, for me, the best writing in the book. A couple of times I said profanities aloud, reading these chapters. They’re beautiful, and they are the part of the book I will remember now that it’s over.

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Women

This is a BIG one for me. Women are not well-represented in As You Wish.  The guys make shallow wishes, yeah. (Eldo’s dad as an example.) But we also see a lot of men who made wishes that, while not necessarily good decisions, make sense. We only even get the perspective of a few women, and most are pretty absurd. Girls have dreams outside of being prettiest. Girls have dreams outside of making boys fall in love with them. We really only get two girls who seem to make admirable wishes? And one is one of the blandest characters ever and one is a little obnoxious and Eldon talks shit on her constantly.

There’s also a moment that could potentially really alienate asexuals, and I can’t stand that.

Pacing

It’s a long book, but I’d have a pretty hard time telling you things that happen in it. There are very few actual events, which makes it really easy to put down. The most exciting parts, for me, were the parts from the past. There just wasn’t enough really moving things forward in the present.

Because of this, a lot all happens at once. And Eldon flips all at once, and it makes his change a little hard to grasp. Does Eldon grow? I mean, technically, yeah. It’s not so much growth as an abrupt and complete reversal of who he was for the first 350 pages. It didn’t feel very realistic, and it left me feeling unfulfilled.

Missed Opportunities

I’m a person who needs closure. Not necessarily emotional closure, which we kind of? get here. But I really wanted to know SOMETHING about why the cave granted wishes. This is the hardest part to talk about without spoilers, because I can’t tell you what I WANTED to happen without telling you it doesn’t happen. So I’m just going to say I think there was a lot of cool stuff behind the concept that could have been explored, and wasn’t.

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti



 

one of us is lying by karen mcmanus

One Of Us Is Lying: Less Breakfast Club, More Gossip Girl

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published by Delacorte Press in 2017

Genre: YA Mystery

Pages: 360

One Of Us Is Lying is probably the book I was most excited for this year. So it makes me a little sad to say I have mixed feelings about it. I will say that overall it is a quick, enjoyable read, and one I would recommend to others.

one of us is lying book novel mcmanus

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

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.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Is what had me so completely and immediately intrigued. I had heard the pitch that many people had: that One Of Us Is Lying is The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. I was ecstatic. Beyond ecstatic. I adore The Breakfast Club; it has been one of my favorite movies for around fifteen years. And while I’ve fallen off a little, I enjoyed the shit out of Pretty Little Liars for around five seasons. So needless to say I was pumped about this book.

For me, though, it wasn’t really like either of these. What it did have was a distinct Gossip Girl vibe, and I think that distinction is an important one.

When I heard the premise, I guess I had a different vision. The Breakfast Club is the comparison you can’t escape, it’s everywhere. But TBC is entirely set in the school, almost entirely in one room. So what I didn’t expect was the detention in this story to be over so quickly. Simon dies in the first couple pages, and while it sets everything in motion, the detention is just less of the story than I was expecting. I don’t know why that’s so important to me. Maybe because everyone is so determined to compare this to TBC, and the beauty of TBC is that these kids are forced to be together, in one room, with no way out. The kids in One Of Us Is Lying don’t even interact that much for a good portion of the book.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I had thought that I would really hate the tropes. The bad boy, the good girl, the jock, the homecoming queen. We’ve seen these. We know these. (This, btw, is I think why it keeps getting compared to TBC, even though these stereotypical characters can be found in 90% of YA Lit.) Thankfully, the stereotypes are truly turned on their heads.

The Bayview Four kids are awesome. Truly. Wonderful characters, each with their own distinct personality, story arc, and agency. I adored them all by the big twist, and was horrified by the prospect of any of them having committed the murder. The secondary characters are also believable and incredibly likable; the siblings of the accused are phenomenal and even have their own shit to deal with.

I will say that one of the reasons this gave me a Gossip Girl vibe is that that is how the kids act. While they are being investigated as possible murderers, they are considerably more concerned with the seeming inevitability that their secrets could get out. I can’t imagine any scenario in which I or anyone I know would say “I know I’m being investigated for murder, but my boyfriend is going to find out…” Now, I’m a mother, and a decade away from having been a teenager, but still. I don’t remember being quite that irrational.

Is good. The slow release of information Is spot on for a fast-paced, easy-to-read story. It is less twisty than I expected, though. It all follows a pretty natural progression, and I didn’t have to keep reading until about the last 100 pages.

Now, I fancy myself a smarty-pants, but I didn’t see the twist coming until right before it happened. I was pleasantly surprised and amazed, and I LOVED how it worked out and everything that followed the reveal. I did see a lot of reviewers saying they figured it out pretty early on though, so keep that in mind

Is that this is a fun, exciting, quick and easy read that, at the very least, doesn’t disappoint in any major ways. I think it brings up a ton of great points about mental health and wellness, and a lot of the terrible shit that goes down in high school that we don’t give teenagers enough credit for dealing with.