Hi everyone. I’m Maria and this is promotekdbook.com.
Today i’m going to be doing a book review on truly devious by Maureen Johnson.
This is a new mystery book and the first book in a mystery series from Maureen Johnson.
Just to start off, I’m just going to say that the vast majority of this post will be spoiler free.
I actually don’t think I’m going to be talking about anything spoilery in this post.
But in case I do, I will forewarn everyone.
So in this story you are following this character named Stevie Bell who has been accepted to attend Ellingham Academy, which is the special school in Vermont that is completely tuition free.
They only accept a small number of students every year and basically everyone who gets accepted is like really good at something very specific.
And for Stevie Bell, she’s accepted because she is a true crime aficionado.
Now the thing about Ellingham Academy is that it was founded by this guy in the early 20th century who wanted to make learning like fun and like a game or like a riddle.
And so he founded this academy and shortly after the school opened his wife and daughter go missing and it becomes one of the great unsolved crimes of the 20th century.
Stevie Bell since she is obsessed with mysteries and true crime knows all about this and decides that she’s going to attend Ellingham Academy and her like big project will be to solve this cold case.
You go back in time part of the time to see sort of the things that occurred on the night when the wife and daughter go missing and then you also follow Stevie as she is attending the school, finding new friends and figuring out all these different people that she’s surrounded by as well as she’s trying to solve this crime.
So overall, I really enjoyed this book.
Maureen Johnson is so good at writing mystery books.
I had read I think one or two of her contemporary young adult books and I liked them.
I thought that they were always just like cute and fun and she does really interesting things with the characters.
But then I read the name of the star, which came out a number of years ago and I loved that book so much.
And I read all of the books in that series and I always really enjoyed it.
And it feels like truly devious is sort of like a culmination of her working on mysteries.
Like this one feels even stronger than ever.
Like the synopsis says Stevie Bell is a true crime aficionado and Maureen Johnson works in a lot of common mystery pop-culture things into her book and into her story.
And it feels really natural because Stevie Bell is the type of person who would be interested in that.
You also see Stevie Bell just struggling with normal teen things.
Like she’s attending this new school.
She has normal teenage insecurities and problems.
She worries about like her project and feeling like she is up to par to all of these other people who she’s surrounded by.
And it’s just like a really great mystery, like just a good straightforward mystery.
First of all is that I feel like the potential villains in this book were …. I’m putting villains in air quotes here are pretty obvious from the beginning.
After sort of the major event occurs in this book, which obviously I won’t say what it is, I feel like it’s there’s very small list of suspects.
And, in fact, I would say I only suspected two people in total and those were basically the two people that follow you followed through to the end.
I don’t know if that’s done on purpose or not.
Like some mystery writers do leave it so there are only like really one or two options and it’s more about figuring out how you’re gonna figure it out.
But I do like you when there’s a little bit more mystery around it or it’s not quite as obvious as that.
There’s also sort of like this love interest thing that was going on which the entire time really bothered me.
I didn’t understand it really.
The way that it’s handled in the end I don’t know how it’s going to be moving forward.
Again, that’s a thing I’m not going to talk about because of spoilers because the love interest plays a major role in the ending.
But I felt like that was all just handled really weirdly.
And the main sort of problem I had with this book was the fact that this book doesn’t really conclude in a concrete way.
Now obviously I’ve read mysteries that are slightly more ambiguous.
Like I’ve read all of Tana French’s books and she always leaves a couple of question marks.
But I feel like the main mysteries for the most part always really conclude really well.
And in this one it felt like there was no conclusion to anything.
It was just the start and stuff like always really bothers me.
I felt like there should have been some conclusions happening.
And I think part of the reason why this bothers me so much is in the name of the star, the name of the star was supposed to be like a four or five book series.
And I forget exactly how many books are out, but the last book in the series that came out ended on a cliffhanger.
And then Maureen Jensen got really sick and so she couldn’t finish the series, which I don’t blame her for.
But it’s just a really annoying thing to have to deal with.
And so I feel like with this new series, I was expecting it to be more concrete in the ending and you would just get to follow this character for multiple years like you do with a lot of other standard mystery books.
But instead it looks like this is going to be a single mystery that you follow over multiple books, which I don’t really like because one am I going to remember all these details in a year so whenever this next book in the series comes out? I don’t know.
Two, am I gonna care as much? I don’t know.
Like maintaining that suspense and maintaining that intrigue over multiple books feels like a lot.
And three, I don’t know how many books are even going to be in this series?
So yeah, it just left me feeling very unsettled.
So in the end I gave this book a three and a half out of five stars.
If you’re someone who wants concrete endings to their mysteries, don’t read this book yet.
I would wait until the series is complete.
I’m gonna keep going with it just because I already started and now I need to know what’s going to happen next.
But if you are ok with cliffhangers and you’re okay with like waiting in between books then go right ahead and pick this up.
Especially if you like standard detective mystery series.
I think that this is a good fun YA mystery series.
But it’s just the fact that very little gets answered by the end of the book, it’s just really, really bothersome to me.
Like I could potentially love the ending and this could be like a really great series or I could potentially hate it and who knows.
Like it’s so hard to judge this book on its own merits because it feels like I’m only getting part one.
So yeah, that’s everything I have for this post.
Feel free to leave a comment down below letting me know if you’ve read this book, what your thoughts were on it.
Or if you have any questions on truly devious, definitely leave that down in the comment section as well.
So yeah that’s all I have for now and thanks for reading.