Review: Truly Devious

Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 416
My rating: 4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. 

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

This was a really fun read! It was so much fun keeping up with Stevie and trying to figure out this mystery along with her.  I enjoyed the switching between what happened in the past, and what Stevie was puzzling over in the present. The characters were quirky but realistic, and I enjoyed all of their roles and the different representations they all brought to the story.

The only thing I didn’t like too much is how unresolved everything seemed. I know there is a second book out and a third book pending release, but i still feel like we didn’t get any answers at all. It would have been better to have some inkling as to who the bad guy was, but we are left at basically the same place we started. With a mystery you want the clues to actually lead to something, they didn’t in this one, but at least there are still more books! The ending was exciting and left it on a great cliff hanger for the next book though, it was just a cliff hanger related to the present day characters and had nothing to do with the past investigation. All i can hope is that the next book digs a little deeper into the actual case from the past, and not so much on development of the story and characters.

I don’t usually read a lot of mysteries, but this book really made me enjoy them and want to read more in the future. I am also excited to finish this series, but I might wait until the final book is released! Let me know if you’ve read this and how you felt about it! Thank you, and happy reading! 

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