“One Of Us Is Lying” Adaptation

Is It Worth Watching It?

One of Us Is Lying book cover.

Via Google Images

“One of Us Is Lying” book cover.

Maria Brown, JHop Times Contributor

Warning: Contains spoilers for book/show

“One Of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus is a suspenseful, exciting, mystery book that follows four high school students as they are accused of a murder. In the book Bronwyn Rojas, Nate McCully, Cooper Clay, Addy Prentiss, and Simon Kelleher all go into detention, have a small argument with their teacher Mr. Avery then two cars get into a “fender bender” in the parking lot. Avery goes to help the other teachers while the students stay inside. Simon goes into a speech about how they are all the typical high school clichés, Addy being the prom queen, Cooper being the jock, Bronwyn being the brainiac, and Nate the criminal. But Simon says, “I’m the omniscient narrator” Bronwyn says, “There’s no such thing in teen movies.” Simon replies with “Yes, but there is such a thing in life” before drinking his water and have an allergic reaction due to the peanut oil in the cup.

Simon dies and soon the police start the investigation. In the show, however, there is no Mr. Avery but Ms. Avery. Ms. Avery is not a technophobe and is not as angry. In the show Bronwyn also steals Simon’s laptop. This does not happen in the book. Cooper (who in the book we learn is gay in chapter 18) is revealed as gay in the first episode instead of later in the show to add to the mysteries.

At the funeral Janae sings a song instead of the poem she reads in the book, an anonymous user talks about murdering Simon online and Simon’s laptop is missing. Again, with the laptop. This bothers me, there is no laptop in the book, everything they learn about Simon is done using the power of google. Also how did Bronwyn take the laptop in the first place. The police would have wanted it and Simon’s parents would have known about the laptop so why was none of the Bayview four’s bags searched? In real life this would not pass and so it is not in the book.

The time of the story is also bothering me, as one review on google put it, “The cliché American summer setting warns of the forthcoming ‘cringe’ factor that is seen throughout all the episodes” This also sets up my characters problem. Nate in the book is portrayed as the baddy, the criminal, the-person-whose-parents-are-terrible-and-he-doesn’t-give-a-s***-guy. In the show, he is not like that, in the same google review as before, they say; “Nate, the bad-boy character, is presented as an average American boy. Instead of the intimating and withdrawn Nate that we meet in the books, we see someone who blends in and isn’t daunting at all.”

So, we know that Cooper is gay but in the books his sexuality is not known to everyone, especially not his girlfriend. In the book he is outed after a post online but in the show, he comes out after his dad has a heart attack. In the book Cooper’s grandmother has the heart attack.

I could go on and on about the middle but really it is the ending that I dislike the most. In the book, it is revealed that Simon orchestrated it all. He had Jake implant the phones to get them all in detention, he outlined the tumbler posts for Jake, the car crash in the parking lot, everything. But sadly, as with most things, the show strayed. In the show most of it was Jake. Simon wanted to have an allergic reaction and be saved by the EpiPen, but Jake stole the pen so he could not be saved. He then used the suspicions on the main four to create the posts and shift the attention.

In the end, Addy gets screenshots of texts with Simon and Jake chases her with a gun! Where did the gun come from? Yes, he chases her in the book and beats her up but there is no gun! Then Jake dies! No! He does not die, he gets arrested. Where did any of this come from? This bothers me so much. They changed a perfectly good ending and made it so wrong and confusing.

I love this book, I love the sequel but the way the show moves along makes me feel like instead of reading the book and experiencing the story like the rest of us, the writers just read a poorly written summary that left out some of fan’s favorite moments. I love being able to read a terrific book and then see a good (maybe perfect) adaptation and enjoy it. But like the Percy Jackson movie adaptations (do not get me started on those adaptations) I felt left down and disappointed. So sorry to the cast and crew but this show is empty of what makes the book so good.