3 Sentence Summary
One of Us Is Next is the electrifying sequel to the bestselling One of Us is Lying which brings us back to Bayview High. The chilling game of “Truth or Dare” there tests the limits of friendship and reveals dark secrets. McManus skillfully introduces fresh faces while delving into the aftermath of Simon’s death and the power of rumors in a suspenseful and engrossing narrative.
Summary Read Time: Less than 5 minutes
Actual Book Length: 277
First Published in: 2020
Check out the summary of One Of Us Is Lying first to get a better idea of One Of Is Next.
The first part has been adapted into a TV Series by Peacock and is infact now streaming on Netflix too. As we write, there are plans that this sequel will also be turned into the TV Series as a season 2 of One Of Us Is Lying.
Below is the detailed yet quick One Of Us Is Next summary:
“One Of Us Is Next” opens with a haunting news clip of another tragedy at Bayview High and a vengeful Reddit conversation. A year and a half after Simon’s death, the Bayview Four – Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy – have all pursued different paths. Bronwyn is studying at Yale, Nate is attending community college while staying in Bayview, Cooper is on a baseball scholarship at Cal State Fullerton, and Addy is working at Café Contigo. Ashton, Addy’s sister, is planning to marry Eli, Nate’s ex-lawyer.
Phoebe Lawton, a junior at Bayview, works alongside Addy at Café Contigo, and her mother is arranging Ashton’s wedding. Phoebe’s life is complicated by her secret fling with Brandon Weber, a popular football player. When an anonymous text introduces a new “Truth or Dare” game echoing Simon’s old gossip blog, Phoebe is chosen as the first player.
Meanwhile, Knox, an intern at Eli’s law firm and former boyfriend of Bronwyn’s sister Maeve, is also in the crossfire of the sinister game. When Phoebe fails to respond to the game, her secret relationship with her sister’s boyfriend is publicly revealed. In the fallout, school bully Sean Murdoch, a friend of Brandon’s, gets expelled for harassing Phoebe, causing a rift between Phoebe and Brandon.
Elsewhere, Maeve grapples with a health scare and fears her leukemia might be returning. At school, she befriends the drama club, where Knox and Lucy Chen are the stars of their production of “Into the Woods”. In the midst of the escalating game, Phoebe tries to mend bridges with her sister Emma and best friend Jules, but her efforts meet with resistance. The stage is set for a dramatic unfolding of events in Bayview High once again.
In the next set of chapters, the mysterious “Truth or Dare” game takes a shocking turn. Eli’s recent exposure of a major blackmail scandal involving the San Diego Police Chief clears a number of false convictions & delights Knox’s father. Meanwhile, “Unknown” exposes the second player, Sean Murdoch, as the vandalizer of Wing Zone, a local restaurant. In a lively pre-bachelorette bash for Ashton at Café Contigo, Jules Crandall, smitten with Nate, steals a kiss from him, thereby completing her “Dare”.
Maeve becomes the latest recipient of the “Truth or Dare” text, but chooses not to respond. The side effect of this is a cruel revelation about her relationship with Knox. Amid this turmoil, Maeve grapples with her health concerns and her growing feelings for Luis Santos, the son of Café Contigo’s owners. Following a mortifying experience at school, Maeve and Phoebe decide to block “Unknown” from their phones. This leads to a sweet moment between Maeve and Luis, where they share a passionate kiss in the café’s kitchen.
As the repercussions of the game ripple through Bayview High, Phoebe endures relentless bullying due to the exposed secret of her affair. Furthermore, her family struggles financially, a situation worsened by the inadequate worker’s compensation they received after her father’s death. She finds respite in skipping class with Knox, avoiding the school’s tormenting jeers.
An unexpected tragedy hits Bayview when Brandon Weber dies in a construction site accident at Bayview Mall. Sean narrates the event, claiming that Knox would have died too had he not intervened. Yet, Knox, nursing a concussion, disputes this version of events, insisting his familiarity with construction sites would have prevented him from chasing Brandon into danger. This twist adds another layer of mystery to the unfolding events at Bayview High.
The silence from Bayview2020 creates tension on the “Vengeance Is Mine” forum, while the string of unsettling “Truth or Dare” texts takes a pause. As the dynamics of relationships in Bayview shift, a stranger referred to as “Intense Guy” is seeking Phoebe, raising suspicion. Concurrently, Knox struggles with a confusing memory from the construction site incident and Maeve’s health issues draw Nate’s concern.
Knox and Phoebe form a stronger connection amidst their shared encounters, including helping Emma with a car mishap. Knox’s parents inadvertently trigger a memory of the construction site accident for Knox, prompting him to try to obtain a revealing video from Sean’s phone. When Knox’s efforts prove futile, Luis steps in to assist.
Eli’s law firm becomes the recipient of recurring threats, presumed to be linked to the D’Agostino case. This prompts the firm’s associate, Sandeep Ghai, to involve the police. In a major breakthrough, Luis manages to secure a video from Sean’s phone. That exposes Brandon’s dare before the disaster at the construction site. This discovery sparks a discussion between Knox and Nate about possible foul play at the site. Amidst these events, Emma turns to alcohol to cope with her undisclosed problems.
A wave of relief hits Maeve when her oncologist rules out a cancer recurrence. The story takes another turn when Phoebe receives an anonymous message demanding a meeting. This leads to an investigation, connecting the “Intense Guy” to the forum’s Darkestmind and possibly to “Unknown”. To dig deeper, Knox persuades Maeve to infiltrate his mother’s computer. In a distressing conclusion to this segment, Phoebe finds Emma suffering from severe alcohol poisoning.
Maeve and Knox soon discover that the Intense Guy is none other than Jared Jackson, linked to the disgraced Officer Ray Jackson. While Eli receives threats, Darkestmind ups the stakes with an ominous message on the Vengeance subreddit. Amid these happenings, Maeve stumbles upon a disturbing connection between Brandon Weber and Andrew Lawton’s death. As they process these startling revelations, they notice Jared at the location of Ashton and Eli’s wedding rehearsal dinner.
Tension escalates when Maeve and Knox unearth what appears to be a bomb dropped off by Jared. In a desperate bid to protect everyone, they rush the bomb away, unexpectedly crossing paths with Bronwyn and Nate. The explosive detonates causing injuries, but mercifully no loss of life. Simultaneously, the truth about Phoebe’s affair with Derek comes to light.
Phoebe faces accusations of a revenge pact against Eli by Jared, causing shockwaves among their circle. In an unexpected turn, Emma confesses to impersonating Phoebe, exposing her awareness of Brandon’s connection to her father’s demise. Amid the turmoil, Eli and Ashton’s wedding proceeds smoothly, while Knox lends his support to an emotionally overwhelmed Phoebe.
The conclusion unravels further surprises. Emma grills Jules about the cover-up concerning the construction site incident. Emma and Phoebe discover implicating chat logs supposedly from “Phoebe”, hinting at a grim plot. A distinctive spelling mistake exposes their brother Owen as the likely perpetrator. This triggers Emma’s decision to shield him by denying the validity of the chat logs. The book ends with Emma’s decision to remain silent, leaving readers questioning Owen’s actions.