After I kindly received the rest of the Truly Devious series for Christmas from my family, I knew a re-read of Truly Devious was needed so I could enjoy the series – and it did not disappoint! I read Truly Devious, the sequel The Vanishing Stair and the last book The Hand on the Wall across January and February this year and I thoroughly enjoyed them all!
I first read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson in 2019 and I absolutely loved it, but the second book wasn’t out and I’m one of those people who prefers to read the whole series at once rather than wait a year for the next one – anyone else or just me? So, I decided to wait until all of the trilogy was published before reading and I am so glad I did. If you’ve read Truly Devious and/or the whole series, let me know what you thought of it! 😊
I would describe the series as a YA contemporary boarding school mystery, set in the mountains in Vermont which makes for the cosiest mystery ever. What I loved about the series is that each book was left on a cliff-hanger which just really made you want to read on. The plot is really good in all of the books and I enjoyed that there are two strands of interlaced mysteries across the whole series. I’m going to share my review of Truly Devious below, but I don’t want to give any spoilers for the rest of the series so I will give a mini spoiler free review for the others.
Truly Devious – Rating ★★★★
Mini synopsis: Eccentric tycoon Albert Ellingham founded Ellingham Academy in the 1930s for the brightest thinkers, inventors and creators. However, tragedy struck when his wife Iris and daughter Alice were kidnapped. The only clue was a riddle signed, “Truly, Devious”. Now, decades on, true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to start her first year at Ellingham and she is determined to uncover the truth behind the ‘unsolvable’ crime. But when tragedy strikes again at Ellingham, is it a sign that Truly Devious is back?
Review: Just a mini disclaimer – when I first read Truly Devious, I rated it 5 stars, but rated it 4 stars for my re-read as I already knew what to expect. That being said, I still loved it and I really love the protagonist Stevie Bell and her love for true crime. I also loved that Stevie’s friend Janelle is interested in STEM. The presentation of mental health, specifically anxiety was honest and raw which I think is amazing. The cliff-hanger was great, the only reason why I marked it 4 stars was because I’m not a fan of the love interest in the books (sorry!).
The Vanishing Stair – Rating ★★★★.5
I loved this sequel and picked it up immediately after finishing Truly Devious because I just needed to know what was happening! A lot of questions are raised but a lot of questions are answered, and I really enjoyed that! Again, Maureen Johnson leaves this book on a cliff-hanger which is excellently answered in the last book.
The Hand on the Wall – Rating ★★★★.5
This is a great end to a fantastic series and I really love the Ellingham Academy setting in the snowy Vermont mountains which is really important in this book. The mysteries and action come to a close in this climactic book and we get to see the truth laid out in front of us. I got big Agatha Christie’s Poirot vibes in this book which I loved!
• My overall rating for the series is 4.5★ – I absolutely LOVED this and I am really excited for the new book The Box in the Woods to be released. I don’t think it is a direct ‘sequel’ but includes the same characters who I really loved!
• If you are looking for a fun and cosy YA mystery to get into – this is it!
I want to read more series, if you’ve got any favourites, I’d love some recommendations! I’m up for trying new genres too, but my go-to genres are YA, crime, mystery and contemporary.