Review of One of Us is Back by Karen McManus


One of Us is Back (One of Us is Lying #3) by Karen M. McManus

To be published on July 25, 2023 by Delacorte Books
It's been three and a half years since book two!

Need a refresher on books one and two: One of Us is Lying and One of Us is Next? 

I have you covered - come over and check out my post with plot summaries and character lists, plus all your burning questions answered!

Plot Summary for One of Us is Back by Karen M. McManus

Cover of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. Mc Manus. Photos of people with their faces blocked out, with the book title superimposed over.

Ever since Simon died in detention, life hasn't been easy for the Bayview Crew. First the Bayview Four had to prove they weren't killers. Then a new generation had to outwit a vengeful copycat. Now, it's beginning again.

At first the mysterious billboard seems like a bad joke: Time for a new game, Bayview. 

But when a member of the crew disappears, it's clear this 'game' just got serious - and no one understands the rules.

Everyone's a target. And now that someone unexpected has returned to Bayview, things are starting to get deadly.

Simon was right about secrets - they all come out in the end. 

The thing is, Simon was right about secrets-they all come out, eventually. And Bayview has a lot it's still hiding.

Review of One of Us is Back by Karen McManus

I have always been a fan of and advocate for YA mysteries, and have delighted as YA mysteries have evolved from the Scooby Gang level to some really top-notch books that can stand alongside any adult mystery.

I have a soft spot for the original One of Us Is Lying. First, it was a homage to a classic John Hughes movie, and then it was one of the books that helped kick off the resurgence of the YA mystery.

I found One of Us is Next a little chaotic and I struggled to bond with the new characters. 

But I was excited to try One of Us is Back and have to say, I really enjoyed it.

If I'm judging One of Us is Back as a mystery, I wouldn't give it an A+.  Many of the plot elements feel a bit recycled from book two and there was a lot of info-dumping at the end.

But as a wrapping-up book, I feel One of Us is Back was a big success. This book really integrated the characters from book one and book two together. 

I was happy that Addy was back in a big way in this book and especially loved the really solid friendship between Nate and Addy. Yes, When Harry Met Sally was wrong: guys and girls can be platonic friends. 

Addy especially had great character growth. She's been through so much, from accepting and making amends for her own mistakes, to realizing that she'd been in a toxic relationship, to standing up to that person, to having compassion for him and finding herself. 

I felt that the Phoebe-Emma-Owen story was a little less effective.  These three sibs are not my favorites!

And the rehabilitation of Vanessa! I think that happened in the TV show and maybe the author decided to incorporate it into this book. I'm always up for a good redemption story.

If you need a refresher on books one and two before you start One of Us is Back, check out my post that features recaps, character lists and FAQs!


  1. I only watched one or two episodes of the TV show (when I was visiting the kid), but I have adored this series. I am glad you thought it wrapped up well. I would sad if it ended in a whomp-whomp way

  2. Hi Sam! I thought the character relationships were wrapped up really well!


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