Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Part of HarperCollins)
TOTAL RATING: 4.0 STARS
Ellingham Academy is no normal school. It’s a got a secret shadowy past and one that has never been solved.
When our protagonist, Stevie Bell, arrives at school, she’s among other seriously gifted kids. All of them have something that they are seriously good at. For Stevie, it’s mysteries that she’s good at. Therefore, the unsolved mysteries haunting Ellingham’s past is on her radar when she has to coose a self-taught project to lead on.
There’s a wacky group of fellow students to get to know, but murder suddenly brings the fun to a stop. Somebody at school is a killer and Stevie thinks it has something to do with the mysteries of the past.
Can she discover the secrets of the past to help her solve a crime in the present?
Truly Devious is a really good YA mystery, murder or otherwise. If you are fan of the “Whodunnit?” series of books you’ll find a load to sink your teeth into here. Between the strange goings on and the even stranger sets of students, the author Maureen Johnson has done a good job of blending the story and character development throughout the book while not making the breadcrumbs too big and the mystery too obvious.
Now, it’s not a perfect story by any means. The lack of exploration of the school was little flat. On the first page we’re shown this great big school map, with all these houses but we’re really only getting like a quarter of the school explored. I know that there’s more books and it could be that the author was saving more of the school to reveal in additional books and I respect that so I’ll let that pass, but the one thing that did annoy me was the obligatory romance that felt very shoved in at the last minute.
Of all the threads of story, this one felt clunky and out of place and it’s a shame that time was wasted on this when there was other questions/character that I’d rather have followed.
It’s a strong start and I’m excited to move onto book 2 and hopefully book 3 but if you fancy a bit of mystery in your life and on your bookshelves then you can’t go wrong with this book.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Look at this riddle, isn’t it fun. You’ll read this book and want more to come.