By: Maureen Johnson
#1 in Truly Devious Series | 416 Pages | Pub. 2018
Truly Devious At A Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★★★
- Heroine: Nancy Drew 6.0
- Dude: We are as on the fence as Stevie
- Steaminess: Spin-the-bottle level
- Brutality: I’m not going near any tunnels anytime soon
Pairs Well With
- 1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 Sugar cube
- Few dashes plain water
Spoiler Free Review
I read this book because I saw Maddie and Sara talking about it on twitter and decided I needed to jump in on this book. Both Teagan and I love true crime and listen to murder podcasts all the time. A girl who tries to solve a cold case and encounters another murder along the way? Sign me up.
Because I love all things dark & twisty, the setting was right up my alley. Set on a private mountain in Vermont, Ellingham Academy can only be accessed by the school designated coaches. It’s a park-and-ride situation for everyone, so escape is difficult. Stevie, who is obsessed with true crime, convinces her parents to let her go to this boarding school in the middle of the woods to solve a cold case from the 30s.. Yep, we are already creeped out and nothing has happened yet.
We meet a cast of interesting characters, most of which are child prodigies. Internet stars, artists, novelists etc. are the kids that Stevie will live with and befriend. This made for some very entertaining situations. A study yurt? Hysterical. Also, a yurt seems like it would be really cold in Vermont. Just saying.
Stevie may be one of my favorite characters of all time. She is witty and so incredibly smart. She kind of reminded me of The Mentalist or Shawn from Psych with her observations and how quickly she pieces things together. Her ability to read people is outstanding. And she has this subtle sarcasm that I definitely relate to.
“Whether they were real or fake, Stevie didn’t know, and she wasn’t sure it mattered. A table full of teeth is a table full of teeth.”
But my favorite thing about this book was how Johnson addressed anxiety. So many people dismiss anxiety as people needing to “stress less” and don’t address it as a real health problem. Stevie works through hers in a few different ways and experiences the reality of just not sleeping due to extreme anxiety. As a person who wakes up at all hours and can’t sleep until they work out the anxiety, I appreciated the accurate representation of how it works and what can help stave it off and/or solve it.
“I think we all come here because we have something in our heads we can’t get out.”
Have you read Truly Devious? Let us know what you thought in the comments!