book review

Truly, Devious #1 by Maureen Johnson


Publication Date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages: 416

Genre: YA Mystery

Rating: 4/5

This is a Clue-esque young adult mystery following Stevie as she is trying to solve the infamous Ellingham crime. In the 1930’s Albert Ellingham started a free school up in the mountains of Vermont for kids that he considered brilliant and wanted them to have access to a different kind of education. In April 1936 Albert’s wife and daughter are kidnapped and a girl from his school is found murdered. The story picks up in  the present day when Stevie is moving into Ellingham’s school where we follow along with her as she acclimates to the school and begins her investigation.

Clue is my favorite thing ever so this was such a fun and exciting read for me. I loved the setting of this book and I hope one day that make this into a movie because I would love to see it come to life. I also thought the characters were very well written for a mystery where we get to know them but just enough to keep them all mysterious. I also enjoyed all the interactions the characters had with each other and how they all related to Stevie’s investigation.

The one thing that I really didn’t like was the constant repetitiveness of Johnson telling us in many different ways that Stevie is into crime, wants to work with the FBI, and oh yea she studies crime. Stevie is a heroine that I will always root for and get behind so I didn’t think it was necessary to constantly bring up how obsessed with crime she is. On the flip side I did enjoy just how dedicated to solving crimes Stevie is and I wish the author had stuck with showing us versus feeling the need to tell us.

I was intrigued before going into this if each book in the trilogy was solving a different crime or if it was all building up to solving everything in the third book. So far we have delved deeper into the Ellingham crime and are also dealing with current events. I like that in this book we were confronted with lots of questions and a few answers because it makes me want to read the next book as soon as I can. I really enjoyed how this book ended and the drama and intrigue that is set up for the next installment. Also, the riddles in this book are fantastically done. There is one in particular about a staircase that I am dying to know if I have the answer right and is another reason I desperately want to read the second book.

I checked this book out from the library before everything was shut down so I will be buying this whole trilogy so I can finish it and have it on my shelves to eventually reread.  I know that quite a few people have already read this since I am so late to the game with it but if you did like it then I highly recommend you read In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund (Goodreads link). That one is the first in a young adult Clue trilogy and has very similar themes to Truly, Devious.


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