Karen M. McManus Books

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Karen M. McManus is a bestselling, award-winning author that writes mystery suspense novels for young adults. She attended the College of the Holy Cross and Northeastern University from where she acquired her BA in English and MA in journalism respectively.

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Order of One of Us Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 One of Us Is Lying 2017 Description / Buy
2 One of Us Is Next 2020 Description / Buy
3 One of Us Is Back 2023 Description / Buy

Order of Karen M. McManus Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 Two Can Keep a Secret 2019 Description / Buy
2 The Cousins 2020 Description / Buy
3 You'll Be the Death of Me 2021 Description / Buy
4 Nothing More to Tell 2022 Description / Buy
5 Such Charming Liars 2024 Description / Buy
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As a child, McManus was drawn to mystery and suspense. She counts Agatha Christie and Gillian Flynn among her favorite authors. Even as a YA novelist, she couldn’t stop writing about darker topics.

McManus was interested in stories that forced protagonists to confront frightening and confusing events. Though, she always endeavors to litter her work with optimism. Her objective is to create settings that allow teenagers to safely experiment with thrilling experiences.

She believes that the world is a dangerous place filled with fear and hostility and that YA novels like hers enable young readers to process these things. McManus wants teenagers to understand that tragedy and suffering are an inescapable part of life.

However, she also needs them to know that they have what it takes to survive the unthinkable. The author had to do the same when her husband, Jim, died. Their son was just a toddler at the time. She took some solace in her work.

McManus was 7 when she started writing. While the experience was enjoyable, the author stopped writing once she reached high school. McManus wasn’t necessarily too busy to write. Rather, the process became quite difficult, so much so that the novelist found that she could no longer finish the books she started.

She pursued a Masters Degree in Journalism only to realize that she had little to no interest in the field. McManus did not want to spend her life writing news stories. So she went into marketing and public relations, going so far as to land prominent positions in places like Brodeur Partners and Monotype.

She imputes her writing success to Suzanne Collins whom she discovered during a cross-country business trip. McManus was on her way to Portland when she realized that she needed a book to read on the trip.

So she went looking and stumbled across The Hunger Games. The book re-ignited her passion for writing. The first novel she wrote to completion was a little too heavily inspired by Collins’ work. The YA dystopian manuscript reflected poorly on the author’s abilities.

So she dismissed it as a practice novel and wrote a second manuscript. She made several improvements in her craft with the second novel. However, like the first, it had too many problems. It couldn’t be salvaged, though she has gone back to both novels to mine them for ideas and characters that have appeared in her published works.

The idea for ‘One of Us is Lying’, McManus’ first published novel, came to her after she heard the theme song for the Breakfast Club. She started contemplating the themes of the movie and whether they held up, and this encouraged her to update the movie’s narrative by adding a dark twist. The book got her an agent and a book deal.

Karen M. McManus Awards

McManus received an Agatha Award Nomination in 2019 (Two Can Keep a Secret).

Karen M. McManus Books into Movies

‘One of Us is Lying’ is expected to become a TV show.

Best Karen M. McManus Books

McManus believes that her marketing expertise gave her novels the push they needed to become a success. She used her experience in the field to create engaging content for social media. Some of the best books in her bibliography include:

One of Us is Lying: Simon, an outcast, went into detention with four high-profile students. When he died, investigators concluded that he had been murdered. The fact that he had expressed intentions to reveal the juicy secrets of the other four students the very next day suggests that one of them killed him.

The investigators must identify the one person that was willing to commit murder to protect their secrets.

Two Can Keep a Secret: Echo Ridge isn’t quite as quaint as it appears. Ellery’s aunt was just 17 when she disappeared from the town. Several years later, a homecoming queen in the town met an untimely end. Now, Ellery is expected to start a new life in Echo Ridge.

But a nefarious figure is determined to ruin her transition. They have already declared their intention to turn homecoming into another bloody mess. But Ellery isn’t shocked that Echo Ridge has so many secrets.

Her own family is riddled with secrets. However, for some people in Echo Ridge, those secrets are more than enough to instigate bloodshed.

When Does The Next Karen M. McManus book come out?

The next book by Karen M. McManus is Such Charming Liars and will be released on July, 30th 2024.


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