One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

The basics

Title: One of Us Is Next


Series: One of Us Is Lying #2

- One of Us Is Lying (2017)
- One of Us Is Next (2019)
- One of Us Is Back (2022)

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Goodreads Summary:

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one's been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it's not an app, though—it's a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe's the first target. If you choose not to play, it's a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it's that they can't count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon's gone, but someone's determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there's a whole new set of rules.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

what happened in One of Us Is Next?

  • A new Game begins a year and a half after our main characters thought they were free. This time, an Unknown person is sending group texts to all the students. They plan to make people take part in their own version of Truth or Dare.
  • The main group from the first book have split up. Bronwyn is at uni at Yale, Nate is working for a construction company (owned by Knox’s father) and taking night classes at the local community college, Addy is working as a waitress, and Cooper is playing baseball at Cal State.
  • New characters are introduced, one of which is Phoebe, who works with Addy at the cafe. Knox is currently interning for Eli at his company which helps wrongfully accused people find jobs. Maeve is Bronwyn’s sister, who was previously treated for cancer but has recovered. She dated Knox but they broke up and are now friends.
  • Phoebe receives a group text from Unknown, telling her she has to take part in Truth or Dare. She chooses Truth, and it’s revealed that Phoebe slept with her sister’s boyfriend.
  • Maeve gets a nosebleed and starts worrying that her cancer has returned, because that’s what happened last time.
  • People at school are mostly horrible to Phoebe, particularly Sean and Brandon. Phoebe is upset about the secret being revealed and she also feels bad, so she tries to apologise to her sister, Emma, but Emma is having none of it.
  • Another group text goes out and whoever was chosen vandalises a restaurant. It’s revealed afterwards that it was Sean.
  • Maeve starts looking into this, partly because she can’t believe it’s happening again. She searches for mentions of Simon on Reddit, and finds that there’s someone posting there under Simon’s old username. These posts seem to get deleted soon after they’re posted.
  • Ashton has a pre-bachelorette at the cafe where Addy and Phoebe work. Cooper and Bronwyn are returning for the party.
  • Jules kisses Nate, and it turns out it’s a Dare for the Unknown person. Seems like Jules got off easy…
  • Maeve receives a text from Unknown and doesn’t respond.
  • Maeve notices some bruises and contacts her doctor. She wants some tests in case it’s the cancer, but they say they’ll have to notify her parents so she decides not to go through with it.
  • Maeve goes on a date with Luis.
  • Maeve’s secret is revealed because she didn’t respond to Unknown. The secret was about Maeve and KNox’s break up. Apparently Maeve broke up with Knox because he had issues getting it up.
  • Of course, a bunch of people at school mock Knox, who is understandably upset. Maeve is being picked on too, and she and Phoebe decide they should block Unknown.
  • Jules and Phoebe have an argument because Jules is excited about whatever is going to come up next from the Unknown texts. Jules is supposed to be Phoebe’s best friend, so Phoebe gets upset and angry that she’s so gleeful about all this.
  • Phoebe and Knox skip school together.
  • Brandon falls through a roof at a construction site and dies. Apparently Knox was there too, and he has concussion from Sean knocking him over to save his life. Knox isn’t able to verify this story immediately because he’s knocked out.
  • Knox wakes up and argues with Sean’s story. He can’t remember much but it doesn’t feel right to him. It’s very unlikely he would have tried to climb onto a dodgy roof to save Brandon because he could have been killed too.
  • Sean and Jules start dating because they’re such wonderful people.
  • Someone comes looking for Phoebe at work.
  • Maeve is still getting nosebleeds and Nate urges her to tell her parents.
  • Knox overhears his parents talking about Brandon and how he was once in trouble with the police. Knox remembers Sean recording something, and him trying to get to Sean’s phone.
  • Eli’s company have been receiving a bunch of threats from the same person, so Sandeep wants to contact the police about it.
  • Luis takes Sean’s phone and finds a video of Brandon’s death. He seems to have been doing a Dare when the roof caved in. Knox appears in the video after the roof collapsed and the video cuts off.
  • Nate considers the event, and he thinks something dodgy was going on and it wasn’t an accident. He noticed that some beams have holes in them when they definitely shouldn’t.
  • Emma has lost her phone, and she starts acting strangely. She won’t tell Phoebe what she’s up to.
  • Maeve is told that she doesn’t have cancer again, just iron deficiency.
  • Phoebe receives a note at work and assumes it’s from Derek, who has been trying to talk to her. Phoebe heads to the place mentioned on the note, along with Maeve, Luis, and Knox. The guy from the cafe is there in a car, and they look up his number plate. It’s listed as belonging to David Jackson.
  • On the subreddit, a poster called Darkestmind posts about being angry with Phoebe for not showing up when they asked her to.
  • Maeve figures out where this Cafe Guy/Darkestmind lives and she and Knox follow him around. They don’t find out much else at the time, but that evening they put together that David Jackson is related to Ray Jackson, an officer who was helping D’Agostino and who is now in jail. They look into the family further and figure out that Cafe Guy/Darkestmind is Jared, Ray’s brother.
  • It’s thought that Jared is the one sending threats to Eli and his employees, as Eli’s firm is working on the D’Agostino case.
  • Darkestmind posts on the subreddit again about time being up and “doing it themself”.
  • Maeve finds a compensation document in relation to Phoebe’s dad. It looks as though the business involved has a connection with Brandon’s father. The document mentions that Lance Weber allowed his son to play on a forklift, and Brandon accidentally killed Phoebe’s father, Andrew. Publically, the death was ruled as being an accident due to faulty machinery.
  • Jared shows up at the restaurant as Eli and Ashton’s rehearsal dinner is taking place. He places a backpack under the decking, and Knox and Maeve worry it might be explosives. Of course they go to look and it does look like a bomb.
  • As they’re moving the backpack, they bump into Bronwyn and Nate and tell them what’s going on. They drop the rucksack and run off, and the bomb detonates. Everyone is okay, although Nate is a little bit injured.
  • Phoebe calls Derek, and he tells her that he admitted their brief fling to Emma.
  • Jared tries to get Phoebe to take the blame with him, saying she was involved in the plot against Eli. Phoebe is confused, until Emma pipes up and says she was the one doing it, and she was pretending to be her sister as revenge. Jesus.
  • Emma says she never meant for Brandon to die.
  • Eli and Ashton finally get married and there are no explosives in sight.
  • Phoebe and Jules talk, and Jules tells Phoebe they lied about what happened at the construction site so they didn’t have to tell the police about the Truth or Dare.
  • Emma talks to her lawyer, McCoy, about what she was doing. She found Jared on Reddit and they came up with a plan to hurt Brandon because she found out what he did to her father. She apparently backed out after the first text to Phoebe went out.
  • McCoy pulls out a transcript of a conversation between Jared and “Phoebe”. It’s dated later than that first text, and it says that “Phoebe” is back in the game. Phoebe and Emma look at the document, and realise that there’s a mispelling that their brother Owen always makes. They think Owen has been working with Jared on this game by pretending to be Phoebe.
  • Emma tells McCoy that Jared probably create those fake chat logs.

That’s what happened in One of Us Is Next! Who’s looking forward to the sequel? We personally can’t wait to get our hands on it in January. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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