Read the series in ONE week
Quarantine has changed all of our lives. We’re home more, or working more, or bored more often, and thus my book consumption schedule has trained drastically. It’s been very hard for me to seriously pay attention to Fiction lately, so I haven’t read much.
I was able to fly to London and visit my fiance in September and thus thought to myself “Okay woman, get it together, pull some things off your want to read list and take advantage of this 10 hour flight.” Thus, I downloaded this as an eBook and eAudio as it has been on my list forever and WOW I am totally in love with this series.
The story of Truly Devious circles around Ellingham Academy, a private academy in the Vermont mountainside that caters to eccentric yet intelligent teenagers. It’s founder, Albert Ellingham, was an eccentric himself and set up the school as a place where learning is a thrill for students and allows them the freedom to come into their own. He loved games and riddles, and sadly, someone decides to play a game with him; kidnapping his wife and daughter and murdering his wife. His daughter was never found. The only clue was a riddle, signed by someone known as “Truly Devious.”
Decades later, Stevie Bell is an anxious, socially awkward teenager with a love of true crime and a borderline obsession with the Truly Devious case. She applies to Ellingham and is accepted because of her dedication to the Truly Devious case, and is assigned to attempt to solve it as her capstone style end of the year goal. When Truly Devious makes a return to campus and one of her classmates ends up dead, it’s up to Stevie to solve not only their murder, but the unsolved crime of the century.
I absolutely loved this. It has so many elements I love. Boarding schools, a fun cast of side characters, time jumps, murder mysteries, sardonic friends, accurate portrayal of teenagers and awkward first love. I read this for my work book club and ended up consuming the next two in the series within a week. I cannot recommend it enough!
The only things I disliked about the book were the fact that it ends on a semi-cliffhanger, which really was only an annoyance as I wanted to start the second book immediately! From a marketing standpoint it is brilliant because I ended up checking the next in the series out immediately, but I will say unless you’re ready to commit to a series this might not be worth it for you.
The only other thing I struggled with was the character of David. I understand his purpose but I didn’t, and still don’t, believe he is worthy to date or hang out with Stevie. As the trilogy goes on you learn more about David and his motivations and he absolutely grew on me by the time I finished the third book, but he is still my least favorite character in an otherwise pretty awesome series.
Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Three Descriptors: Atmospheric, Contemporary, Well-developed
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