by Karen M. McManus
I read this book (I took a little break from the Illuminae trilogy) over fall break and I absolutely loved it!
It starts out explaining who the main characters are and how they all got into detention together.The group is a pretty stereotypical assortment of high school students, with a “Beauty,” an “Athlete,” a “Brain,” a “Criminal,” and an “Outcast.” The Outcast, whose name is Simon, doesn’t make it out of detention. Simon is the author of the school’s (absolutely brutal) gossip app called “About That.” He dies of a allergic reaction from consuming a concentrated amount of peanut oil, but he wasn’t anywhere near peanuts before his death.
The first mystery arises when all five students realize that burner phones have been planted in all of their backpacks, which is what got them in trouble in the first place. The (very anti-technology) teacher they’re in detention with searches backpacks, so he found all of the burner phones and told them to stay after school for detention. No one knows who put them all in detention together, or why it was that specific group of people. They just assume it’s a prank (until Simon dies, of course).
The second mystery arises as the students unravel what happened right before Simon’s death. He took a paper cup from the stack next to the sink, filled it with water, and drank it. Everyone’s trying to figure out who put peanut oil in that cup, or what else could’ve happened to him. And, because of About That, everyone has a reason to want Simon dead.
The reader figures out new clues to the mystery as the main characters do, so they’re challenged to figure out the real killer before the end of the story. No one is who they seem, and the story is littered with twists and turns as the characters realize more about what happened. One of my new favorite books! 😊