One of Us Is Next One of Us Is Next the sequel to One of Us Is Lying, the book that made me realize that I love mystery novels and movies. I had high expectations for this book, after Karen McManus’s first two books. This book lived up to those expectations. It was an engaging dark thriller. I think mystery thrillers are the best to read when you know next to nothing about them, so I will briefly explain it: It has been a year since Simon Kellheller’s death. No one has been able to fill gossip void like he could until now. This time it is a game of Truth or Dare. We follow our three narrators, Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox who are stuck in this beautifully woven plot of teenage drama, family issues, and a deadly game of Truth or Dare. What particularly stands out in this novel is the characters. My personal belief is that characters drive the plot. The characters’ intentions, traits, and fears drive the plot. McManus knows her character well an knows what they would do, to create the plot. All that being said, it is a book I had to reread to understand. I was pretty lost sometimes and had to go back to figure out who was narrating the book. It can be very chaotic, however, I think that part of it has to do with the more fast-paced elements of the book. It is like watching a fight scene in a movie. You sort of know what is going on, but it is very chaotic, and sometimes you need to rewatch it to understand the story elements in the scene. Overall, a very good and very excited for McManus’s next book. Immoral Code Guess what, I have another thriller for you! This time it is a heist. I enjoyed this book. When I was reading I was engrossed in it, however not so much that I couldn’t go away from the book. Something to note is that it is more of a contemporary novel, not a science fiction time heist. I was a little disappointed about that. As much as I love weaving in personal problems to add the right “oomph” into a plot and create a character, I want the majority of it to be about the thriller. In this case that would be the heist. Let’s focus on the characters. I loved how they were written. The story alternates between five narrators. Bellamy was accepted into MIT. A dream come true, right? She can’t afford it though, The student loan she was counting on was denied and she won’t get financial aid because her estranged father - Robert Foster - is a billionaire. Bellamy’s friend Nari won’t let that stop her though. She formulates a plan to steal just enough money for Bellamy to go to school. The story follows the five of them on this trip as they try to steal the money and weave through the inevitable teenage drama. I liked the way the characters and the tensions between them were written. At the end, when it finally came to the physical heist, I was stoked. I was waiting for this for the past entire book. It was fun to read. Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. I wasn’t expecting what I got, but I am not entirely mad about that. Need Mystery/thriller number three. Easily one of my favorite books. This book might not be for you, but I enjoyed it. Kaylee is struggling. She isn’t exactly liked by the Nottawa High School population, but that isn’t the issue. Kaylee’s father left her family. Her brother is sick and is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. (see what I did there, “need”) Enter NEED. An online social media platform, where you can get what you need. All you have to do is follow through with the task given to you. (you can see how this could go badly) Something to point out is that it portrays most teens in a horrible way. Not all teens are selfish and thick, but the characters in this book are. It is an incredibly fast-paced novel with a twist at every turn. The ending is surprising. It isn’t one you would be able to guess, but it isn’t Sixth Sense crazy or anything. One of my issues was the chaos of the books. It has a lot of narrators for a good reason, but sometimes it can a little too much and very confusing. Another not fun side effect of the fast-paced action would be the loss of character development. The characters go through an elaborate scheme whipped up for them without changing too much. It is important for characters to grow and change in a story, but there isn’t enough of a resolution to see the change. We can see certain relationships change, but we can’t really see development in the character. Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this book. It was worth my time and effort. I would love to read it again and would recommend it. When Another amazing mystery/thriller. This one is darker and morbid, however a very important part of the book. It starts with Maddie Fynn. She is an ordinary high schooler, except for one thing. On every person’s forehead, she can see a series of numbers. A date. Maddie can see each person’s death date. After her father passed away her family has been struggling. Her mother began to have readings, where people could come to her and pay to find out when they or someone they love is going to die. Unfortunately, trouble occurs and young people start to disappear only to be found dead a few days later. Maddie gets tangled up in a homicide investigation. Soon enough her life turns upside down. I personally enjoyed this book a lot. It was an engaging thriller, with a solid mystery. The ending has a shocking reveal. I doubt anyone would be able to figure it out, but if they did, it would be using the plot and not the clues in the book. I personally make predictions based on how the plot would flow rather than using actual clues to solve the mystery. The author does a good job of adding in red herrings, but I thought a few extra clues would’ve been nice. It does make sense in retrospect as a mystery should. Overall, this definitely one of my favorite books, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery/thriller and doesn’t mind it being too morbid. Time Bomb I know you are probably tired of the mystery/thrillers but this is the last one. Time Bomb isn’t a bad read. It isn’t the best though. We follow six teenagers as starting off their daily lives when the school gets bombed. These six students are stuck inside only to later find out that someone among them is behind the bombings. It begins with expositional info about each character, but wastes no time getting into the meat of the book. We learn each character’s feelings and perspective throughout the entire book. The chapters are pretty short which may bother some people, however, it is important to the story to learn what each of the six characters is feeling in the heat of the moment. Charbonneau does a good job of bringing each of the characters’ problems into light during and keep everything intense. It shows the predictability of high school students who, despite everything that is going on, think about their personal problems. It is funny to think about it that way, however, it is important, because these real issues that need to be discussed. On the contrary, the rest of the book is unpredictable. Don’t ever let your guard down, something is going to happen. The identity of the bomber was very possible to guess. I didn’t really think about it. I was thrown off because I was expecting a cop-out, so keep your eyes open. This book constantly has you asking questions and keeps you captivated while discussing very difficult and serious topics. A good book, but not extraordinary.