Truly Devious ~ Review

Title: Truly Devious

Series: Truly Devious #1

Author: Maureen Johnson

Genre: YA Mystery

Release Date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 416


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. 

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

~ My Review ~

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’m going to be upfront here and say that this is the type of book that I often find hard to review. Mysteries can often be challenging to talk about because you just don’t want to give anything away.

I’m going to start by talking a little about the end by giving you a heads up that it ends on a cliffhanger (and a nice little plot twist). I didn’t know that going in and it caught me off guard. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait to pick up the second book. I’ve already downloaded the next two books in the series. I obviously enjoyed this one well enough to do that.

One of the interesting things about this book was that there are mysteries within the big mystery that our main character Stevie is trying to solve. The other big interesting element to me is the boarding school that Stevie has been selected to, which is the sight where the big mystery took place many years prior. This school is set up high on a mountain in a heavily forested area. It was built with lots of hidden passageways and tunnels and such that add an intriguing element to the story.

Stevie’s an interesting character to follow. She gained entrance into the school through her interest in solving crimes. And then a new crime happens on site, which really makes you start looking deep into all of her acquaintances and friends.

Ultimately, the book not only held my attention, I honestly became quite addicted by the end. And I’m super anxious to start the next one! I think I have a couple things figured out, I think, and I’m anxious to see if I’m right. I’m also anxious to get more clues!! 4.5 Stars!


*Disclaimer: I don’t have much in the way of triggers for myself, but I totally understand the need of trigger warnings for some of you. If you have trigger warnings, please check out a review where those triggers will be listed because I often overlook adding them in my reviews.*

Have you read Truly Devious? Are you planning to?

Happy Reading,


15 thoughts on “Truly Devious ~ Review

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Post ~ 7/25/21 | Ali's Books

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