Review | Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Hello, fellow readers! I have finished my first audiobook of 2019. I decided to try Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson when I found it on Scribd. I recently found out the book was part of a series, and the sequel releases this month.

You can try Scribd FREE for 60 days by signing up here. Scribd is a website with unlimited audiobooks and eBooks for only $8.99 a month. Supposedly, the service is not truly unlimited because if you are a high volume user, you will have trouble getting books. I know some people have had negative experiences with Scribd, but I have not had any issues during my first two months. I’ve listened to several audiobooks and read an eBook without issue. I did notice a few of my saved books are no longer available, but they were also Christmas books, so I am not reading those right now anyway.


Description: The book has two storylines, one in the past and one in the present. Albert Ellingham, early twentieth century tycoon and lover of games and riddles, has established a famous private school in Vermont. The qualifications for the school are not clear, but it is free to anyone admitted and students can create their own course of study based on their interests. Ellingham’s wife and daughter are kidnapped and the only clue is a riddle from “Truly Devious.” In the present story, Stevie Bell has be admitted to Ellingham Academy with the sole intentions of solving the cold case of Ellingham’s wife and daughter. But then someone at the school dies under mysterious circumstances. Was is an accident…or was it murder?

What I Liked: I am a sucker for a mystery set in a boarding school or summer camp. Really, any mystery where the characters are all “trapped” together. That was enough to draw me in to the book. I really liked the alternating timelines in the story, especially the past timeline when Ellingham’s wife and daughter go missing. Everyone in both timelines seems to be hiding secrets, which keeps you guessing constantly. There is also a riddle about stairs and staircases that I can’t quite figure out. I hope we get an answer to the riddle, and considering the title of book 2 (The Vanishing Stair), I have a feeling we will find out.

What I Didn’t Like: I do not feel like I got enough answers. It reminded me of Pretty Little Liars (the TV series) because I have more questions than answers at the end of the book. I feel like at least one mystery should have been resolved. I hope the series is only a duology or trilogy, because I do not want to be waiting 10 years to find out who did what in this story.

Final Thoughts: I am giving this book 4/5 stars because we do not get many clear answers to what is going on, and that bothers me. I am also really unclear about the ending, probably because I was listening to the book rather than reading, so I will probably try to get a copy from the library to go back through and look at a few things that I feel I missed. Overall, this is one of the better YA mystery/thriller books I have read, and I do recommend giving it a chance if you can handle a cliffhanger ending.

You can order Truly Devious from BookDepository here. A small percentage of your order goes to supporting my blog.


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