I have decided to do more than book reviews on this blog and I’m excited to start a book of the week meme. Every Sunday, I will pick a book that I’ve recently read and stood out to me and I will share what’s it’s about, what I liked and didn’t like, the characters, quotes, and who I think would enjoy it.
So I’m delighted to share the pick for this. Truly Devious is a young adult mystery series by Maureen Johnson. The series is made up of four books with the last book being released this year. It follows Stevie Bell, a true crime enthusiast starting her first year at famed and exclusive Ellington Academy where she is determined to solve the mysterious disappearances of the wife and child of founder, Albert Ellington. The only clue that was left was a dubious mocking riddle signed by Truly Devious, the case would go down as one of the greatest unsolved crime in history. But solving the case isn’t the only thing Stevie struggles with, she’s also dealing with the rigorous new school life and find common ground with her roommates.
As she gets adjusted to that new life, strange things begin happening and Truly Devious has made them their return as a classmate of Stevie is found murdered. Although cautioned to stay safe, Stevie throws herself into the investigation and must rely on her survival skills or she could be the next victim.
One of the pros of the book are the characters as they were well written, unique, and the dynamics between them felt very real. Stevie is a fun and quirky protagonist and I found myself relating to her throughout the book especially with her true crime obsession. But, she was also self-aware, competent, and had a great attitude and head on her shoulders. Her best friends, Janelle and Nate were pretty great as well and I loved the dynamics between the three. I wasn’t too crazy about David, he was kinda annoying and while I guess you could call him the love interest, this isn’t a heavy romance story. I couldn’t really feel out his character and if he truly liked Stevie or he was using her.
While I did enjoy the pace of the writing, there were parts where it was slow. But, for the most part I felt like the writing fit the scene. Sometimes I struggle with dual timeline books but the way the scenes from 1938 were written didn’t take away from the present day scenes and I think added depth to the story. What I truly loved about the writing is how Johnson cracks up the heat and you don’t notice it until it’s too late. I felt like the twists and turns were done really well and kept me on the edge of my seat. You also can’t tell if the the killer from the 1930’s has returned or if it’s someone else and that was also suspenseful and kept me wanting more.
Overall, Truly Devious is a fantastic murder mystery with well written and complex characters, an interesting plot that will keep you wanting more, and set you up to anticipate book two with delight. I’m glad that I finally got the chance to read this book and I have already finished book 2 so hopefully before the end of the month, I will have read them all. Check it out!