Karen McManus wrote her debut novel with the 1980s classic movie The Breakfast Club in mind, except with a criminal twist. The result is a bestselling and award-winning novel that has inspired a TV adaptation, so it’s no wonder you’re looking for more books like One of Us Is Lying after racing to the conclusion.
The sequel to One of Us Is Lying is available to read, but if you’re still trying to fill your time until the third and final book comes out in July 2023, then the below 15 recommendations will be the perfect picks for your next read.
15 Books like One of Us Is Lying
The below recommendations all share one or more similarities with One of Us Is Lying. Some books have a hint of romance which is reminiscent to Karen McManus’s debut, while other books share more general similarities with a tense, creeping atmosphere.
Often the below books will feature a group of near strangers thrown together or a ticking clock to figure out a mystery from the past. All of the below books, however, will satisfy your desire for an eerie young adult mystery thriller that will scratch the same itch as One of Us Is Lying.
15. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This is the first book in The Inheritance Games series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which has a romance element in addition to its mystery thriller themes. This makes it a great recommendation for any fans of Bronwyn and Nate in One of Us Is Lying. It also features themes of claustrophobia with its setting of Hawthorne House.
Avery Gramb’s goals include surviving high school, winning a scholarship, and getting out. But everything changes when she inherits the fortune of a billionaire she never knew: Tobias Hawthorne. To receive the fortune Avery has to move into his former estate, where his family still lives.
Every room holds puzzles, riddles, and codes and in the corridors lurk the four Hawthorne grandsons. They grew up thinking that they were the heirs to their grandfather’s fortune and the arrival of Avery has confounded them. Danger is around every corner and Avery must play their game if she wants to survive.
14. Escape Room by Maren Stoffels
Next up in our list of books like One of Us Is Lying is a standalone young adult thriller by Maren Stoffels. The origin of its themes of isolation and claustrophobia are apparent right in the title: An escape room.
Four teenagers were looking for something to do on a Friday night, so they headed to an Escape Room. Alissa, Sky, Cleo, and Miles signed up under the regular guise that they had an hour to crack the mystery and unlock the door.
But this escape room doesn’t follow the normal rules. This Game Master has no intention of letting them leave.
13. A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
Themes of malice continue with our next recommendation of A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee, which takes place in an academic setting, just like One of Us Is Lying. However, it is also a fantasy with LGBTQ+ representation.
Felicity Morrow left Dalloway School after her girlfriend’s death, but now one year later she has come back to graduate. She’s even back in her old room which is supposedly haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students who all died on the grounds of Godwin House. The rumor is the girls were witches.
Felicity has always been drawn to the dark witchcraft woven into the school’s history. But she wants to focus on her studies now that she’s back. Except there is a new girl who will not let her forget. Ellis Haley is eccentric and enticing, and when she wants to research the Dalloway Five, Felicity can’t refuse to help her, but now history is repeating itself.
12. As I Descended by Robin Talley
In addition to sharing similarities to One of Us Is Lying, this recommendation is also a Macbeth retelling. As I Descended by Robin Talley is a young adult standalone which also has fantasy and horror themes with LGBTQ+ representation.
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten have the perfect plan to become the school’s power couple. Except Delilah Dufrey is standing in their way. Maria and Lily are willing to do whatever it takes to unseat Delilah as Acheron Academy’s reigning superstar, and that begins with Maria receiving the Kingsley Prize instead of Delilah.
The pair are even willing to harness the mysterious power that waits in the shadows of the school’s grounds, which used to be a plantation, to achieve their means. But then madness blurs the line between what is real and what is not. As fatalities occur, Maria and Lily must decided where to draw the line.
11. All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake is another recommendation that features a variety of themes from the genre spectrum. It has elements of fantasy, horror, and the paranormal alongside its historical fiction setting and the mystery at its core. All of this culminates in a young adult thriller that fans of One of Us Is Lying will enjoy.
It begins with a string of murders across the Midwest in the summer of 1958. The victims are found in a variety of locations, but each one is found with their body drained and no blood anywhere.
Then the Carlson family is slaughtered in Minnesota. At the scene of the crime is 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale. Blood covers her, but none of it is her own.
The son of the local sheriff, Michael Jensen, is the only one Marie will confess to. Michael must harness his desire to become a journalist and find out the truth.
10. The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis
After a few standalone recommendations, The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis is the first in a young adult duology. It is also inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, giving it a dark, haunting atmosphere.
In Amontillado, Ohio, last names are invaluable. Tress Montor used to experience that first-hand, until she lost her family seven years ago. Now she lives with her one-eyed grandfather and is shunned by the whole town.
Meanwhile, Felicity Turnado has it all, but she balances on a knife’s edge. She has cast the night the Montors disappeared from her mind, because she was with them. But Tress has a plan to learn from Felicity what really happened that night.
At a Halloween party at an abandoned house, Tress with have her truth or her revenge, brick-by-brick.
9. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
The marketing of All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban describes it as a book like One of Us Is Lying and reminiscent of Agatha Christie, which means it obviously had to find a spot on this list. It is a standalone and also a debut.
It begins when the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all receive invitations to a scholarship dinner. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a trap. They are locked in the room with a bomb, a syringe of poison, and one hour to pick someone to inject and kill or else they will all die.
Amber Prescott isn’t willing to accept those as her options. She wants to find a way for them all to survive. But as they try to figure out the connections between them, it becomes apparent that they are all hiding something, but how far are they willing to go?
8. Sadie by Courtney Summers
Our next recommendation for books like One of Us Is Lying is Sadie by Courtney Summers, which is another standalone. This is also a great recommendation for fans of true crime as there is a podcast element to the narrative.
It hasn’t been easy for Sadie to raise her sister Mattie in their small town and try to give them a normal life. Then Mattie is found dead and Sadie’s life shatters. With no faith in the botched police investigation Sadie sets out to bring her sister’s killer to justice herself.
Meanwhile, West McCray is a radio personality who hears Sadie’s plight and becomes obsessed with tracking her down and following her story. He starts a podcast tracking Sadie’s journey and trying to find her before it’s too late.
7. Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
This is another young adult book with a murder at its core and a ticking clock to figure out the murderer. It is a standalone mystery thriller and while it doesn’t feature an academic setting, fans of One of Us Is Lying will be sure to enjoy it nonetheless.
Five years ago, Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. Suspicion immediately fell onto her best friends, Mia and Brynn. The girls were obsessed with a book, The Way into the Lovelorn, and everyone thought their obsession finally went too far.
But Mia and Brynn did not kill Summer.
Now, on the anniversary of her death, the two are pulled back together again with a seemingly insignificant discovery. The lines between past and present, fiction and reality blur. Mia and Brynn must finally confront what actually took place in the woods.
6. The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett
As we near our top five books like One of Us Is Lying, The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett follows the murder of a high school senior at Jefferson-Lorne High School.
The first suspect is a troublemaker and notorious partier: Claude. The second is the cheer captain Avery. Then the third is the overachiever and would-be valedictorian, Gwen.
The victim, Emma Baines, was the good girl of the school. But appearances are not always what they seem. As the truth is sifted from the lies and secrets are revealed, the clock is ticking to save another good girl from murder.
5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Next is a divisive option with many readers either loving or hating its unique style and narrator. But if you enjoy psychological thrillers, unreliable narrators, and a tense build to the climax, then you should check out We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
It takes place on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts and follows four friends, the Liars, whose friendship turns destructive. There are mixed opinions about the stylistic choice of this book with frequent fragmented sentences, but the consensus from readers is that it’s best to go into this one as blind as possible.
4. They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman is a murder mystery which takes place in an elite prep school on Long Island.
While everything looks perfect in Gold Coast, in freshman year Jill Newman’s best friend was killed by her boyfriend. It’s been three years since Shaila’s murder. Jill has tried to move on since Graham confessed and the case was closed.
But as she tries to have the best senior year possible, Jill starts getting texts that are adamant Graham didn’t kill Shaila. Jill vows to find the murderer, but she needs to decide if it’s worth the risk the closer she gets.
3. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson is a well-known and well-regarded young adult author, so one of her books had to make it onto our list of books like One of Us Is Lying. Truly Devious is the first book in a series of the same name. It also ends on a cliff hanger, so you may want to have the second book handy.
It takes place at Ellingham Academy in Vermont, which is an elite boarding school that is in the shadows of the founder’s wife and daughter’s kidnapping soon after the school opened. A riddle was left with the signature, “Truly, Devious” but the kidnapper was never found and it became one of the greatest unsolved crimes.
Stevie Bell is a new Ellingham student and a true crime fanatic. She has decided that she is going to be the one to solve this case. First her classes and new housemates get in her way, but then Truly Devious returns.
2. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Our penultimate recommendation for books like One of Us Is Lying is another fan favorite which is A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. Like many other books on this list, this Jackson book deals with a murder in the past that refuses to stay buried.
That’s because five years ago Sal Singh killed Andie Bell. Everyone knows he did it. But few things are as rampant in small towns as secrets, so when Pippa Fitz-Amobi chooses the case as her final year project, she quickly stumbles across ones that someone might just kill over.
1. The Cousins by Karen McManus
Finally, if you loved One of Us Is Lying for the writing and have yet to venture further into McManus’s bibliography, then you should absolutely check out her standalone The Cousins. This is another recommendation that evokes an atmosphere that is reminiscent of Agatha Christie.
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah are cousins, but they barely know one another. Their grandmother disinherited their parents long ago, so when a letter arrives for each of them from the rich and reclusive Story matriarch, inviting them to work on her island resort, refusing isn’t an option. Their parents see it as an opportunity to finally get back into their mother’s good graces.
But the head of the Story family has something different in store for the cousins. Once they arrive there will be no turning back from finding out the mysterious and dark truth of their family’s past, because it isn’t over.
Final thoughts on books like One of Us Is Lying
If you enjoy suspenseful young adult mystery thrillers, then you absolutely must check out these books like One of Us Is Lying. Each recommendation shares similarities to the debut from Karen McManus including past grievances, a ticking clock, a group of near strangers thrown together, a creepy atmosphere, and the pursuit of the truth.
- The Cousins by Karen McManus (2020)
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (2019)
- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (2018)
- They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman (2020)
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014)
- The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett (2020)
- Broken Things by Lauren Oliver (2018)
- Sadie by Courtney Summers (2018)
- All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban (2020)
- The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis (2021)
- All These Bodies by Kendare Blake (2021)
- As I Descended by Robin Talley (2016)
- A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (2021)
- Escape Room by Maren Stoffels (2017)
- The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2020)