Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

You'll Be the Death of Me Cover Art

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
Penguin Random House / Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593175866 

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal drifted apart after “The Best Day Ever” in middle school when they all snuck out of a boring field trip to explore downtown Boston. When the ex-friends find themselves alone in the high school parking lot one morning, it seems like too good a sign to ignore. They skip school again–and immediately stumble into secrets, scandal, and mystery. They spot Brian “Boney” Mahoney downtown, also missing class, and follow him to his own murder. In one fell swoop, The Best Day Ever 2.0 turns very, very bad indeed. Now the cops have questions, classmates’ wild speculations are going viral online, and the trio’s own secrets from each other threaten their delicate new alliance. Who killed Boney–and who’s trying to frame Ivy, Cal, and Mateo for murder?

Karen M. McManus’ novels are irresistible–tightly plotted, suspenseful narration from multiple points of view, grounded in the best kind of high school drama. Her newest mystery is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” gone horribly, mischievously wrong. The characters have relatable, real-life problems: Overachiever Ivy has just suffered a humiliating loss in the student election. Lonely Cal is making poor decisions about a tricky relationship. Mateo is working multiple jobs to help support his family and pay his mother’s medical bills. All three characters are keeping secrets from each other and have connections to the crime. As the reader races to follow each clue, the plot twists and turns in the most delightfully unexpected ways. Ivy and Cal are white, Mateo is Polish Filipino, and Cal has two dads.

McManus’ fans will already be lined up for this book, but definitely have your readers watch the 1986 classic movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Give also to fans of high school murder mysteries like Zhao’s How We Fall Apart, Johnson’s Truly Devious, Barnes’ The Inheritance Games, Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Goodman’s They Wish They Were Us, and Moldavsky’s The Mary Shelley Club

Kali Olson

Other Nominated Titles

  • Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (October 14, 2021)
  • Bluebird by Sharon Cameron (October 5, 2021)
  • Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass (May 11, 2021)
  • What About Will by Ellen Hopkins (September 14, 2021)
  • Like Spilled Water by Jennie Liu (September 1, 2020)
  • The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider (September 21, 2021)
  • Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather Smith (September 22, 2020)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.