Truly Devious

Posted 08/28/2021 by Stephanie in Reviews, YA / 0 Comments

Truly DeviousTruly Devious
by Maureen Johnson
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
on January 16, 2018
Genres: Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 423
Length: 10 hours and 12 mins

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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.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

I grew up on Nancy Drew and so when I read the synopsis of Truly Devious, it took me back to those years. I’m glad that I found this series because i loved it and it has nothing to do with the main character’s name being Stephanie or anything…lol

Stephanie Bell, Stevie, wants to be a detective when she grows up and has this obsession with a famous case from the 1930’s. The Ellingham case is one that even though it was “solved” people still speculate and theorize over. Especially since Alice was never found.

Ellingham Academy is a very prestigious and very hard school to get into. Those that are admitted, have something MORE than the average student. Stevie applies with the premise of solving the Ellingham case. What better place to study and investigate the case than where the crime was committed?

Stevie is not exactly social and

going to a new school is like a new start for her. Having finally found others like her, she’s able to start new friendships that throughout the book, help her in many ways.

At Ellingham, full of very smart and talented students, things start to go wrong really quick and that gives Stevie an opportunity not to only investigate the Ellingham case but to use her detective skills to solve other crimes.

Throughout the book there are flashbacks to 1936, the night of the kidnapping and the days that followed. I thought that was pretty cool since we get to “see” things that Stevie doesn’t and yet ends up finding the needed information to solve the case.

Safe to say, this story is filled with so many secrets and so much backstory that it’s over before you know it. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, it IS book 1 of a series soooo there’s that…

About Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.