Book review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Summary:

Stevie Bell finds herself at Ellingham Academy for her junior year of high school. Ellingham Academy is a famous private school that is known for the kidnapping and murder of its founder’s wife and daughter back in 1936. Stevie, who loves mysteries and true crime, is obsessed with finding out the truth about who was responsible for their murders. The only clue was an ominous letter that was sent days before the crime and signed by ‘Truly Devious’. As Stevie makes new friends and investigates the crime, Truly Devious makes a comeback. Who will the next victim be? Will Stevie figure out who is responsible before it’s too late?

Book Details:

Genre: Young Adult
Released: January 16, 2018
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Rating & Overview:

★★★

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good book. I had heard a lot of great things about it before I read it and had seen glowing reviews of it. Maybe I was expecting too much from this book because of that. 🤔 It definitely left you hanging at the end, which is something I do not enjoy at all.

Cons:

  • It took me a little while to get into the story. Because of the introduction of all the characters, I found the beginning to be somewhat confusing and slow at first.
  • Because of the reviews I had read/watched and just the overall plot of the story, I knew there would be back-and-forth time jumps (from 1936 to present day). This isn’t really something I enjoy in books so that took a little bit extra for me to focus on what was going on and when.
  • As I mentioned in the overview, the end of the book does not give you a good conclusion to the story. It is like one of those TV episodes that ends with “To be continued…” Thank goodness the 2nd book is already out! Unfortunately, the 3rd and final book of the series is expected January 21, 2020. This means that if the 2nd book does the same thing, readers will be left waiting for the true end of the story.

Potentially Offensive Content:

  • Violence – Obviously you can expect some degree of violence in this book as it is a story about murders. However, the author did a great job with that part of the story. There are no overly grotesque or extreme scenes. I feel like they were detailed enough to let the reader “see” what was going on without being over-the-top. Since this is a YA novel, I think she did a great job making it appropriate for younger readers.
  • Alcohol – There are parts of this story where underage drinking take place.
  • Sex – There is one section where 2 characters are making out, but that is as far as it goes.
  • Swear words – I honestly don’t remember any swear words in this story. I apologize if I’m wrong.

Pros:

  • I really like the main character (Stevie). I related with her a lot during the part where she was dealing with her anxiety and suffering through a panic attack. Even though it was a short section and didn’t seem to be an ongoing problem throughout the book, it made me like her character more. It showed an imperfection that was so real.
  • The variance of the characters and their passions/reasons why they were at Ellingham gave the book a well-rounded feel to me. From Ellie’s love of art, to Nate’s writing to David’s video games, the characters feel like everyday people and make the story more enjoyable.
  • The overal plot of the story is interesting and keeps me wanting more at the end. Yes I realize this was listed under cons as well. It is both a pro and con for me. I love it, but I also hate it. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, The Vanishing Stair, to find out how the story progresses.

To purchase this book, use the link below.
Truly Devious: A Mystery




LOOK! A RIDDLE! TIME FOR FUN!
SHOULD WE USE A ROPE OR A GUN?
KNIVES ARE SHARP AND GLEAM SO PRETTY
POISON’S SLOW, WHICH IS A PITY
FIRE IS FESTIVE, DROWNING’S SLOW
HANGING’S A ROPY WAY TO GO
A BROKEN HEAD, A NASTY FALL
A CAR COLLIDING WITH A WALL
BOMBS MAKE A VERY JOLLY NOISE
SUCH WAYS TO PUNISH NAUGHTY BOYS
WHAT SHALL WE USE? WE CAN’T DECIDE.
JUST LIKE YOU CANNOT RUN OR HIDE.
HA HA.

TRULY, DEVIOUS

-Letter from truly devious that starts off the book with a bang!
excerpt from the book truly devious by maureen johnson

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