Truly Devious

Truly Devious

Author Maureen Johnson weaves a tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a new series. 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 sa...

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Title:Truly Devious
Author:Maureen Johnson
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Truly Devious Reviews

  • Michael

    I didn't know this would have a sequel I AM SHOOK. With most books that switch back and forth between timelines, there is usually one I like more than the other. That wasn't the case here. Between present day and the past, we were presented TWO intriguing murder mysteries to solve. Though I didn't love the conclusion here and felt we weren't exactly given enough clues to solve the present day mystery until the very end, I literally gasped out loud no less than three times while reading, and that

    I didn't know this would have a sequel I AM SHOOK. With most books that switch back and forth between timelines, there is usually one I like more than the other. That wasn't the case here. Between present day and the past, we were presented TWO intriguing murder mysteries to solve. Though I didn't love the conclusion here and felt we weren't exactly given enough clues to solve the present day mystery until the very end, I literally gasped out loud no less than three times while reading, and that's for sure a five star book to me.

  • Emma Giordano

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you need a new YA mystery novel, this is the one for you!

    totally took me by surprise. I had no idea I would love this book as much as I did!

    Cw: murder

    I loved our main character, Stevie. I wish this book existed in high school so that I could have had a female protagonist interested in true crime to relate to. I feel Stevie is extremely competent, self-aware, and has a really great head on her shoulders. I also loved her best friends, Janelle – we need more b

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you need a new YA mystery novel, this is the one for you!

    totally took me by surprise. I had no idea I would love this book as much as I did!

    Cw: murder

    I loved our main character, Stevie. I wish this book existed in high school so that I could have had a female protagonist interested in true crime to relate to. I feel Stevie is extremely competent, self-aware, and has a really great head on her shoulders. I also loved her best friends, Janelle – we need more black girls who like girls in STEM fields in media, and Nate – he’s such an apathetic lil bean who I hope gets more development in the sequel. I wasn’t a crazy big fan of David (I guess he is considered the love interest?

    is FAR from a heavy romance story, but there is definite attraction). He just sort of weirded me out; Motives unclear half the time, sometimes annoying, sometimes charming. I can’t really feel out his character at this point, but I did enjoy him more towards the ending and I’m hopeful he’ll grown on me more in the future.

    I am not a huge fan of dual timeline books where it jumps from present to past with a completely different set of characters, but it worked well for this book. The scenes set in 1936 do not overtake the present story, but are a great addition to the story. It does not feel “info-dumpy”, rather, it is like reading two mysteries unfolding at once.

    I adore the mystery of the story. You truly CANNOT TELL who is “Truly Devious”, if the same killer has returned, or else how these two crimes are really connected! There are so many twists and turns and unanswered questions that you will be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how everything fits together.

    I will add, I do feel like the pacing was a bit slow at some points. There are not many significant plot points until about halfway through. That being said, I keep reminding myself that most thrillers are condensed into one book, whereas this will be a trilogy, so I understand the decision/need to have a more fleshed out beginning before diving into all the drama. I am anxiously anticipating book two and am extremely hopeful that things will be nonstop action from here.

    is truly amazing. It is a MUST READ. Book #2 is already going to the top of my most anticipated releases for 2019.

  • April

    That cliffhanger though.

  • Kassidy

    Um what?!?! I need book 2 right now. The end was such a teaser, things were just starting to come together. I need answers! Haha

  • may ❀

    THIS WAS GOOD

    THIS WAS REALLY GOOD

    IM VERY MUCH IMPRESSED BY THIS BOOK AND ITS MYSTERY (especially since i literally went into this book knowing

    about anything bc who reads the synopsis?? not me)

    AND I NEED BOOK 2 BECAUSE HOW DARE IT END LIKE THAT AND NOT GIVE ME THE ANSWERS I WANTED

  • jessica

    i swear, there is no better feeling in the world than getting to a big reveal in a murder mystery and being able to shout,

    maybe that makes the story too predictable and easy, but wow, what a confidence boost and what an enjoyable book! for a plot revolving around a murder, this was surprisingly light? the story had a very easy going and game-like feel to it. this was also a slow burn mystery (nothing really happens until about halfway in), but it was done in a really effective way w

    i swear, there is no better feeling in the world than getting to a big reveal in a murder mystery and being able to shout,

    maybe that makes the story too predictable and easy, but wow, what a confidence boost and what an enjoyable book! for a plot revolving around a murder, this was surprisingly light? the story had a very easy going and game-like feel to it. this was also a slow burn mystery (nothing really happens until about halfway in), but it was done in a really effective way where you didnt feel like the story was dragging. i was impressed and cant wait for the story to continue!

  • chandler ainsley ❁

    this book was much better than i was expecting, thank the fucking lord. i've read a couple of maureen johnson's other books and haven't ever been very impressed. this one kind of changed my mind about her.

    basic premise is that a wealthy 1930s tycoon starts a free school for children in the mountains of vermont where he also hosts small but lavish gatherings with the rich and famous. said tycoon's wife a

    this book was much better than i was expecting, thank the fucking lord. i've read a couple of maureen johnson's other books and haven't ever been very impressed. this one kind of changed my mind about her.

    basic premise is that a wealthy 1930s tycoon starts a free school for children in the mountains of vermont where he also hosts small but lavish gatherings with the rich and famous. said tycoon's wife and child are kidnapped. present day true crime lover stevie gets into this free school for kids and decides to solve the mystery.

    but it's not really that simple. stevie is

    and she has to contend with the other strange characters in this boarding school as she tries to uncover what happened so many years ago. oh yeah, and one of her classmates happens to get murdered. no biggie.

    i thought the plot of this was pretty excellent.

    but it didn't take away from her sleuthing too much imo. i liked that there were scenes from 1936 interspersed throughout the story along with police interviews from tycoon's fascinating friends. and i like that the present day murder is still unsolved, along with the past mystery.

    the only thing that i didn't love, actually (lol wow that's bad shhh), was stevie herself. i understood her single minded obsession pretty well but her contempt for her parents was pretty hard to believe. also her complete lack of personal boundaries and lack of empathy sort of has me wondering if she has mental health issues beyond just anxiety.

    but that being said, i'm really really curious to see where the next book takes us. i'll definitely be reading it.

  • Laura

    Albert Ellingham created a school that knows no limits. He wanted learning to be a game for those who attended. Tuition is free and everyone learns at their own pace. It's a dream for anyone to attend. Although, shortly after it opened, Ellingham's wife and daughter were kidnapped and never found. A mysterious riddle listing ways to murder had appeared a week prior signed on

    Albert Ellingham created a school that knows no limits. He wanted learning to be a game for those who attended. Tuition is free and everyone learns at their own pace. It's a dream for anyone to attend. Although, shortly after it opened, Ellingham's wife and daughter were kidnapped and never found. A mysterious riddle listing ways to murder had appeared a week prior signed only "Truly, Devious." It remains unsolved.

    Stevie Bell was accepted into Ellingham Academy with no other specialty than being a true-crime junkie. She has plans to solved the great Ellingham mystery that no one before her has been able to. Of course, no one else this adamant as solving the case has had access to the Academy grounds as a student. There's a cast of characters surrounding Stevie, most of which being her housemates. I wasn't exactly feeling a lot of the characters besides Stevie. She's got a good head on her shoulders, is inquisitive and smart. I do wish her anxiety had been displayed better instead of feeling like a passing detail. I spent the majority of the time trusting no one as I waited for the present-day mystery to, well, present itself. It's a little over 50% when we really get introduced to said mystery.

    The story flips back and forth between 1936 when the kidnapping occurs and present day. We don't get enough clues to solve either mystery on our own. At least, as of now that appears to be the case because all is not solved at the end. Things are still up in the air waiting to be solved.

    I prefer my mysteries to have some sort of conclusion, but this book is clearly the first of a series (as of right now, a trilogy). It's setting things up for both mysteries running throughout - one being in present day, the other set in the past in the 1930s - while also introducing us to the series' characters. And, of course, the setting. Also being a bit of a character within the novel as an extension of Albert Ellingham and the kind of person he was loving puzzles and games, so of course the boarding school grounds have hidden nooks, tunnels, hiding spots and is a maze in and of itself.

    I'm torn on if I liked this enough or am more bothered by the way the novels are split up. I would've liked a conclusion here to some extent. Instead, the mystery feels underdeveloped. I think I'll still read the second book because I'm intrigued enough to continue. I'd like to know what happened back in 1936 a bit more than I originally expected. Maybe this would've worked better as a standalone.

  • Erin

    3.5 Stars

    I don't think I'm suppose to like this book. I mean I should like it and I did like it but I don't know why I liked it.

    The plot sounds great Stevie is a True Crime fanatic (something we share in common) who's bookcase is filled with the great detective novels, such as Sherlock and Poirot. She listens to True Crime podcast and is obsessed with the ID channel (again something we share in common) and hopes to become an FBI agent when she grows up. Stevie applies to and is accepted into El

    3.5 Stars

    I don't think I'm suppose to like this book. I mean I should like it and I did like it but I don't know why I liked it.

    The plot sounds great Stevie is a True Crime fanatic (something we share in common) who's bookcase is filled with the great detective novels, such as Sherlock and Poirot. She listens to True Crime podcast and is obsessed with the ID channel (again something we share in common) and hopes to become an FBI agent when she grows up. Stevie applies to and is accepted into Ellington an exclusive private school with an infamous past. Stevie sets out to solve the mystery.

    That sounds like a great premise and it is but nothing really happens. We meet what felt like every student at the school(its a lot of people) and we get glimpses of the investigation into the mystery that surrounds the school and we get a brand new mystery that Stevie also investigates. It felt like both mysteries were B-Plots though. Truly Devious spends way more time on teen angst then on the murder mysteries that the book is allegedly about.

    I know what you're thinking

    It sounds like you hated this book, then why the 3.5 star rating?

    Because Truly Devious was fun!

    I never for one second thought about putting this book down. I enjoyed reading it. I got caught up in the atmosphere of Ellington Academy and I found Stevie's battle with anxiety completely believable. I have never suffered from anxiety but my mother did and sister does. The way Stevie described how an anxiety or panic attack feels is the way they described them. So for that alone I really enjoyed reading this book.

    Also the ending was great and I can't wait to read book 2. Since I have such conflicted feelings about this book I won't make any recommendations.

    Around the Year in 52 Books: A book Featuring a Murder.

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