Book Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams. They are not supposed to be famous for murders.

Albert Ellingham, one of the richest men in the USA, decides to start a school and bring the best minds in the country to learn together. It’s 1936. Shortly after the Ellingham Academy opens, his wife and his daughter are kidnapped and the kidnapper/killer leaves a riddle as the only clue. A girl named Dottie also goes missing at the same time.

Look! A riddle! Time for fun!
Should we use a rope or gun?
Knives are sharp and gleam so pretty
Poison’s slow, which is a pity
Fire is festive, drowning’s slow
Hanging’s a ropy way to go
A broken head, a nasty fall
A car colliding with a wall
Bombs make a very jolly noise
Such ways to punish naughty boys!
What shall we use? We can’t decide.
Just like you cannot run or hide.
Ha ha.

It’s been eighty years. The case has never been solved. Stevie Bell, who wants to become a detective, is set to begin her first year at the Ellingham Academy. She is determined to solve the eighty-year-old case. But, soon another murder takes place, and this time it is one of the people Stevie has befriended. And the murderer gets away with it.

My Thoughts

Cliffhangers make me lose my sleep like:

Me: *Sneaks out in the dark to go to the fictional Ellingham Academy to solve the case AND SCREAMS* I FOUND MY RAISON D’ÊTRE!

I wish I knew what to say about this book other than stating that I liked it. I like reading murder mysteries, but I really hate them when they end with a cliffhanger. Pretty normal. That’s why I decided to read this book now. And it was a pretty stupid idea because it actually means that I’m signing up for taking sleeping pills for one whole year!

Hmm, enuf of the drama, let’s talk about the book now, shall we?

I loved the plot. Really, really loved it. I liked reading the two mysteries and I’m still wondering how they could be related (they are related, but I wanna know how they are related. I guess I stopped making sense after I read that cliffhanger ending). I have a million questions that I’m afraid are gonna be left unanswered.

I like the Ellingham Academy (if we put aside the murders, that is). It’s an elite school built on a mountain with the statues, a lake, the Great House, antiquated furniture and things, and paintings and a mysterious staircase. It’s just…creepy. Totally creepy.

I loved Stevie. She’s a normal teen who has a knack for observing things that others generally overlook. She has anxiety and she gets panic attacks occasionally- relatable! She is just a normal girl with parents who didn’t even want her to go to the infamous Ellingham Academy.

I wanna mention the annoying David and weird Ellie and sweet Janelle and grumpy but friendly Nate. There’s something about all of them that makes me question certain things. Or maybe it’s just paranoia that every human being suffers from? I love the fact that there’s diversity in this book!

My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book is really interesting and the ending will leave you wanting to know who actually did it. I wanna know who did it. I actually started reading this book at a wrong time because I would have to be sleep deprived for one more year when the third part of the trilogy comes out! Just pick it up guys, I think you’re gonna love it. The ending got me thinking hard! But the most important question is–WHO THE FUCK IS THE KILLER? Read it and tell me if you could tell! I’m gonna start reading The Vanishing Stair and try to come to a conclusion, which is impossible.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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