Buy This Book
Other books you may enjoy

“The parking lot has emptied out, and a bell clangs loudly from inside Carlton High. If we’re going to back out, now would be the time. But even though none of us says anything else, nobody moves, either,” Cal. –You’ll Be the Death of Me

You’ll Be the Death of Me

by Karen M. McManus
AR Test

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal were once a tight-knit trio. Their first adventure, which they nicknamed The Greatest Day Ever, involved skipping a particularly boring class trip to wander around Boston. They vowed that their friendship would last forever—which lasted until the end of eighth grade. There was no big falling out; they merely drifted apart, as friends tend to do. 

Now, they are seniors in high school. Before school, they run into each other by chance but none of them are particularly excited to start the school day. Ivy, straight-A student and perfectionist, had just lost the senior class president election and is dreading her classmates’ reactions; Mateo is burnt out from working two jobs on top of doing school work and he just needs a break; and Cal just got stood up for a breakfast date with his girlfriend and is itching to do something reckless. They decide to skip school and recreate The Greatest Day Ever. What’s the worst that can happen from missing one day? 

But their lighthearted adventure takes a turn when they discover the body of one of their classmates, Brian (nicknamed Boney) Mahoney, in an abandoned studio in Boston. They begin to investigate, determined to find the murderer and the motive. But in doing so, they uncover many secrets—about their classmates, their school, their town, and even about themselves. 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets an Agatha Christie-worthy mystery in You’ll Be the Death of Me. The high stakes, plot twists, and quick pacing—the entire story takes place over one day—create a thrilling novel that will captivate readers and leave them unable to put the book down. The mystery continues to be solved until the last page. In the last chapter, clues are still being uncovered, and the book ends with yet another twist; this cliffhanger ending, particularly in a stand-alone novel, may not leave every reader satisfied. 

This book features three main protagonists, each with distinct personalities. Each chapter switches between Ivy’s, Mateo’s, and Cal’s point of view, allowing all three to share the spotlight equally. Because their personalities are so distinct, readers will easily be able to relate to at least one of them consistently and recognize their friends in others. The protagonists’ stories, emotions, and interactions with each other feel very real despite their current situation, making them easy to sympathize with even when they fight and make mistakes.  

You’ll Be the Death of Me is perfect for readers who enjoy secrets, fast-paced mysteries, and rekindled friendships. It’s the kind of book that can be read and enjoyed in a day, thrilling enough to be captivating while being easy to understand. Readers who enjoy You’ll Be the Death of Me may also like Five Survive by Holly Jackson and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  

Sexual Content 

  • Ivy remembers when her brother, Daniel, replaced her notes for a speech at her school’s junior talent show with a page from their aunt’s latest erotic novel. She panicked and ended up reading the page out loud, and “a teacher had to rush to the stage and stop me, right around the time I was describing the hero in full anatomical detail.” 
  • Ivy describes Mateo’s cousin’s boyfriend as someone “who took particular delight in grabbing his crotch every time I walked past him in the hallway after my meltdown at the junior talent show.” 
  • Mateo and Ivy kiss in private. Mateo describes, “Ivy shivers, leaning forward until her soft lips graze mine. It’s not enough though; it’s nowhere near enough. I tangle my fingers in her hair and pull her closer for a long, lingering kiss. Any questions that might’ve been floating around my brain about whether this is a bad idea—and yeah, there were more than a few—disappear at the sensation of her mouth against mine. Kissing Ivy is both familiar and exhilarating, like coming back to a place I wish I hadn’t left and finding it’s even better than I remember.” 


  • Mateo gets into a fight with Charlie, a friend from school, because Mateo thinks that Charlie was involved in the murder. “For a few seconds we’re a tangle of twisted limbs and flailing fists, throwing punches that don’t land hard enough to do damage as we grapple on the floor.” Ivy breaks up the fight. Mateo and Charlie are both left with minor injuries. 
  • Ivy is lured onto an abandoned street and put into a car by a mysterious figure. “His hand reaches out, lightning-quick, yanking the cables so hard I go sprawling at his feet. . .Sharp pieces of gravel bite into my palms and knees. . . I try to stand out then, but a hand reaches out, shoving me back down, and I realize I shouldn’t be angry. I should be scared. I open my mouth to scream, and a hand clamps over the bottom half of my face. Suddenly it’s hard to breathe, and panic floods my entire body as I’m hauled roughly to my feet.” 
  • Mateo gets into a fight with his cousin’s boyfriend, Gabe. Mateo ducks “all of his badly aimed punches and throw[s] him flat on his back, straddling him and pinning his hands until all he can do is struggle helplessly like a trapped bug.’” Mateo lets Gabe go when he tells him the information he needs. 
  • Cal and Ivy fight the people behind Brian’s death after being captured by them. Cal details, “I’m flat on my back, the entire right side of my head on fire from the impact of Coach Kendall’s fist. The element of surprise ended way too fast. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Lara scrambling on the floor, going for the gun, until Ivy leaps at her and drags her back. They’re a tangle of motion, all blond hair and flailing limbs.” This scene lasts for three pages, and police arrive before anyone is killed. Cal is left with a minor concussion. 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • Ivy faints after seeing a syringe on the ground, and Mateo thinks, “Maybe it’s some tortured artist who overdosed and . . .” 
  • Ivy drinks a few sips of whiskey to calm down. “When Mateo returns with a single shot glass, amber liquid barely covers the bottom.” 
  • Charlie, the trio’s friend, gets drunk in his house. “‘He was freaked about Boney, and then freaked about his house getting torn apart, so his solution was to break into his parents’ vodka.’ Cal clears his throat and adds, ‘Which, I guess, beats overdosing on the Oxycontin that he stole.’”  
  • A major plot point is drug deals. Charlie sells drugs, as does Mateo’s cousin Autumn. 


  • Profanity is used sometimes. Profanity includes shit, dick, and fuck.  


  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
Other books you may enjoy

“The parking lot has emptied out, and a bell clangs loudly from inside Carlton High. If we’re going to back out, now would be the time. But even though none of us says anything else, nobody moves, either,” Cal. –You’ll Be the Death of Me

Latest Reviews