One of Us Is Lying: Book vs. Show


 “To err is human.” “I’m the omniscient narrator.” “I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to admit that sometimes they’re just a******* who screw up because they don’t expect to get caught.” “I know what it’s like to tell yourself a lie so often that it becomes the truth.”  

This is Simon Kelleher, and he was murdered. Four of Bayview High School’s students were in the room where it happened. 

“One of Us is Lying” is a murder mystery book written by Karen M. McManus, who is a New York Times best selling author. It has also been a New York Times bestselling book for 79 weeks. Additionally, the book was recently adapted into a two season TV show. 

“One of Us is Lying” follows the story of four high schoolers: Bronwyn, Nate, Addison and Cooper, who are all being investigated for murder of Simon Kelleher. Simon suffered from a fatal allergic reaction of peanut oil. The thing is, no one knows how the peanut oil got into the cup. 


Even in the first episode, the show has a few differences from what happened in the book. In the TV show they try to add drama wherever they can. For example, after Simon Kelleher’s death, Bronwyn takes Simon’s book bag. In the book, Bronwyn is portrayed more innocently and although she’s nervous, she doesn’t have anything to hide about the day of Simon’s death. 

After this event, there are five key differences between the book and show: 


  1. Perspectives 

Throughout the book, it switches perspectives between the four main characters. This allows readers to feel each of the characters’ emotions, while also thinking they are innocent. This is something the show lacks because they may be able to convey emotions through faces, but you can’t see what each character is thinking during the show. 


  1. Detention Scene 

Both the book and show start off similarly, with the detention scene towards the beginning of the story. The-soon-to-be murder suspects are in the detention room with Simon Kelleher. In the book, the person who oversees detention is Mr. Avery. Conversely, in the TV series, they change the gender so Mr. Avery is a woman. 

“In the book, Mr. Avery’s hatred for technology was certainly shown well enough such that it would make the readers understand why both Bronwyn and Addy were sent to detention,” said Ysmael Delicana, a book reviewer. The book adds little details that help readers understand certain things that are happening, while the series doesn’t have time to. 


  1. Cooper’s relationship 

Another big difference that is seen in the first few episodes is Cooper’s relationship. In the book, we don’t find out that Cooper is in a relationship with another man until late in the book. In the show, we meet Cooper’s boyfriend in the first episode. Again, it seems as though this was to add more drama and romance to the series. 

Cooper comes out to both his brother and his girlfriend, Keely. In the book, Cooper being outed is a much bigger deal than it is in the show. Every college and scout that was interested in Cooper’s baseball career stopped calling, and his dad wouldn’t even look him in the eye. Cooper suffered a lot in the book, and even Keely was blindsided when she found out about Cooper. I liked the way the book did this because it was more surprising and dramatic. This is something you wouldn’t expect to come from Cooper’s character. 


  1. Nate and Bronwyn’s relationship 

Bronwyn and Nate hit it off from the start, but in the series, Bronwyn doesn’t give Nate a chance. Right as the series started, Bronwyn is dating Evan from her debate team. She doesn’t seem to want to get close to Nate in a relationship way. In the book, Bronwyn and Nate hit it off immediately. They talk every night on burner phones to make sure they aren’t caught and even end up going out. Their relationship eventually progresses a little, but this is later in the series. For example, when Nate and Bronwyn snuck into Maeve’s room to get her computer. I liked Bronwyn and Nate in the book because they gave each other someone to talk to and be honest with. 


  1. Missing Characters 

Addy’s older sister, Ashton, isn’t in the TV series. Ashton is someone that really helps Addy get through her relationship issues. It was nice to see the sister similarity that they had along with Bronwyn and her little sister, Maeve.
Another missing character is Luis. In the book, Luis is Cooper’s best friend and the only one who supports him after his secret gets outed to the whole school. In the book, Luis says, “You find out who your real friends are when stuff like this happens.” People like Addy didn’t have any friends after her secret was outed, but it turns out Cooper did have one. For Cooper and Addy, both of these characters were there for them in their times of hardship, but the series completely cut them out. 


In my opinion, I liked the book better and would definitely recommend reading it. I believe that the show added too much drama, along with extra details. I still liked the show, but it’s hard for a show to beat a book, especially when the book seemed to reveal everything at the perfect time.