Book review: Truly Devious

By the time you read this I will be on vacation! I might try to get some scheduled posts still but aside from that I most likely won’t be on.

TrulyTruly Devious by Maureen Johnson was one of the books I had on my TBR list for so long. This was going to be a mini reviews post but it ended up being not so mini. Warning: There is a spoiler in the middle of  the review. You have been warned.

Here’s what it’s about according to Goodreads:

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 said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

I think I am right in the middle of the popular opinion and the unpopular opinion here. The premises of the plot is super cool. I liked the letter at the very beginning of the book that was from Devious and that always drew me in.

Devious reminded me of a mix of the show Pretty Little Liars, a modern day Nancy Drew book, and the book Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It had the mysterious murder investigations from PLL and the same mysterious intriguing feel Caraval had. It was a different type of read for sure.

I had mixed opinions of Stevie. I liked her for the most part though every once in awhile I didn’t like her, it was mostly just a couldn’t tune in with her type of thing sometimes. Spoiler alert here: I also didn’t like her with that David guy. I think that’s his name, he obviously didn’t have a strong impact for me as a character. I just always felt there was something off about him.

I actually enjoyed the history of Ellingham Academy. If you aren’t a little bit afraid of the possibility of getting murdered in the middle of almost it would be a cool place to visit. I just know I wouldn’t be able to get any sleep there. But the fact that it allowed students to truly focus on whatever subject they were passionate about was cool too. It had a Hogwarts allure to it with that.

This was rated three stars on Goodreads from me. I enjoyed parts of it, though had misgivings with other parts. I am on the fence about where I stand, but a three star rating doesn’t mean I disliked it.


What do you think? Have you read Truly Devious? Is this on your TBR? Feel free to talk about it in comments, but please don’t post spoilers in comments. I know I posted one in the review but I did warn about it ahead of time. 😀

5 thoughts on “Book review: Truly Devious”

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