Weekly Digest #82
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In this digest-
1. Book and Tv Adaptation review- One of us is lying
2. Happiness Quotient From Around The World
3. Did You Know?
4. Entertainment Quotient
Book and TV adaptation review - One of us is lying
By: Abhimanyu Rao
Imagine this - There are five people in a room, one of them dies, and only four people exit that room alive. Pretty generic mystery plot, right? It’s the kind you see in every second book on the mystery shelf of a library or bookstore. However, there are always the little details that stand out, and writing that makes a book rise up above all others. Now, there is one such book that I think of every time I read this paragraph, and that book is Karen M. Mcmanus’ “One of us is lying”.
At its very core, it follows the same plot I stated above. Four suspects, no eyewitnesses, and a whole lot of mystery, intrigue and nail-biting nervousness. However, the plot of a book isn’t its entirety - there is so much more required to keep a reader engaged.
The true magic of a mystery novel comes from the characters, the little twists, the descriptions, and the adrenaline rush it gives you. That magic is packed so hard into this book, that you get a gargantuan dose of it from the moment you open the very first page! This book is honestly really gripping, so without any further ado, let’s dive into the characters.
The main characters of the book are four teenagers in their last year of high school. The most intriguing trait each possesses is that they fit into the “classic” high school stereotypes. There’s Bronwyn, the “nerd”, who has perfect grades and wants to go to Yale University.
There’s Cooper, the “jock”, who is a once-in-a-generation baseball talent. There is Addy, who is the stereotypical “princess”, but the most interesting is Nate. Nate is a high schooler, like the rest of them, but he’s been arrested once already, and is on probation.
Lastly, there is Simon Keller, the victim. Simon is an outlier in this curious scenario. He doesn’t fit into any stereotype, but has the most unusual job you can think of. He created and runs “About That”, a gossip application for the students of Bayview High School. “About That”, is exceptionally popular, with everyone using it as the holy grail of teen gossip.
Its featured posts are the biggest talking point of every day, and the people whose secrets are exposed on it have their lives ruined in just a few days.
Simon dies while he is in detention with the other four, each of whom maintains that they were wrongly put into detention, and that they shouldn’t be there. That may be the case, however, when young Mr. Keller dies, and it becomes clear that it was murder, we know that one of them desparately wanted to be there.
The book still doesn’t excite you? Well then let me tell you this. Soon, a new fact is uncovered. Simon had four posts for the next day, the day after he died, that he couldn’t post. There was one post each, for Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy. Four posts that could ruin their lives faster than anything ever created. So Simon just dies in a room filled with exactly the SAME people who he had the inside scoop on. Coincidence? I think not! Convinced?
Anyway, this book really kept me hooked. And I don’t mean the “I’ll finish it because I want to know” kind of hooked, I mean the “reading with a torch underneath the blankets” hooked. I’m serious. Not just the plot, but the interactions between the characters, not knowing what would happen next, being flabbergasted by the secrets they all held, being left speechless by the secrets their secrets held, and so much more!
What’s even better is that these characters are joined by a stellar lineup of supporting characters. There’s Bronwyn’s super tech-savvy sister Maeve, there’s Cooper’s father, who desperately wants him to go to the college with the number one baseball team, there’s Addy’s boyfriend Jake, who Addy thinks is great, though her sister disagrees. These characters may not always add to the plot, but it’s almost impossible to imagine the book without them.
(Book Cover credit- amazon.in)
The last highlight I want to bring to light are the twists. There are an innumerable amount of twists, and they aren’t the kind you figure out a few pages before they come, they are the kind that make you do a double take, or even a triple take before you understand what’s going on.
I would want to recommend this book to enthusiastic readers above the age of 13, because it deals with some heavy topics, including violence and suicide. However, if you are thirteen, mystery enthusiast or not, this book is for you! I promise you, if you read it, you will never look at murder mysteries the same way!
The Tv Show?
One of us is Lying was recently made into a TV show by Peacock, which is available on Netflix. The question is, did they manage to do justice to the bestselling book? Well… it’s complicated. The show follows the same plotline as the book, but they take away a few key points.
Firstly, there was a major issue in casting. Cooper Clay, the resident jock, loses his iconic sandy hair, leaving troublemaker Nate Macauley looking like a better fit for the part. Secondly, the removal of fan favourite characters like Addy’s older sister Ashton Prentiss, Eli Kleinfelter from Until Proven, and pretty much the entire Until Proven team!
The Cast (From right to left)- Cooper, Addy, Bronwyn and Nate)
(Photo credit- Deadline.com)
Final chases were altered, major scenes were changed, and some iconic book moments were just removed completely! As a fan of the book, I was left torn, because I had absolutely NO IDEA how to react. The show was something new, adding an entirely new plotline, and changing the ending completely, which, to be fair, kept me wondering about what was going on, so it worked.
However, this took away from a lot of the charm the book had, which was one of the big negatives with the changes. Viewers who haven’t read the book will definitely enjoy it more, however, I feel like that is almost inevitable when adapting a book for the screen.
All in all, this adaptation is a semi-misfire. While it does keep even readers on the edge of their seats, the cost of that is too great to have changed the story significantly. However, there is still a season 2 coming soon, so we shall have to wait and see what the future brings!
By: Agastya Rao
Entertainment quotient for the week:
Secrets of Whales (Documentary)
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