Book Reviews

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus: Blog Tour & Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Expected publication November 30th, 2021 by Penguin.

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand new addictive thriller.

Ivy, Mateo and Cal used to be close – best friends back in middle school.

Now all they have in common is a bad day. So for old time’s sake they skip school together – one last time.

But when the trio spot Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney ditching class too, they follow him – right into a murder scene.

They all have a connection to the victim. And they’re ALL hiding something.

When their day of freedom turns deadly, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out . . .

It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder, perfect for fans of One Of Us Is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. This explosive new thriller is impossible to put down.

Thank you to The Write Reads Tours and the publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s UK, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Ivy, Mateo and Cal used to be friends. But that was middle school. Now they’re all in high school and dealing with their own lives. Ivy lives in the shadow of her gifted and talented younger brother, Daniel. Mateo and his cousin, Autumn, have to work multiple jobs to help his ailing mother pay for things after her bowling alley had to shut down from the fallout of a lawsuit. And Cal, well Cal’s swept up in a whirlwind romance with a new girl… one he’s supposed to keep secret.

So when they decide to ditch school in an attempt to recreate the best adventure from their time as friends, they don’t expect too much in the way of excitement. But they wind up walking in on an actual murder scene – where the victim is another student from their high school no less. Soon a tip starts to circulate that the murderer matches the description of Ivy, and it’s suddenly a race against time to figure out what actually happened that day in order to clear their own names…

As always, Karen M. McManus can write a solid YA murder mystery. In a similar vein to how One of Us is Lying was a take on The Breakfast Club, You’ll Be the Death of Me, a take on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, is a fast-paced, nail-biting thriller that’s impossible to put down!

The characters were interesting and well developed, as always. I really enjoyed the trio’s dynamic and interactions, and the way they played off each other. Especially Cal, my heart just went out to him! I wanted to wrap him up in a big, warm hug and pile him under a million blankets, the poor thing.

When it came to the plot, there were definitely more than a few unexpected twists. But it did feel like that was in part because there weren’t enough hints in the text to have foreshadowed most of them. Rather, some “clues” were complete misdirects. And while they led to a high-level shock factor, it felt like they came completely out of nowhere, so slightly disjointed.

Like, I’m kind of glad about what was done with the character who ended up being a red herring – but even still, it felt a little stilted, because all the hints were sort of leading you to believe that that person was the killer. So it felt like the rug was pulled out from under you when they weren’t and some totally other person was. (But that could have been the point?!)

Nevertheless, You’ll Be the Death of Me is still a really fun romp, as to be expected with Karen M. McManus. (I’m just being picky because I have high expectations for this author.) My god, that one character – I won’t spoil, but if you know, you know – was so insidious. And that ending?! Is there going to be a sequel to find out what happens next?!

About the Author

Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You’ll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.

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Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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