Truly Devious Truly Devious
Book 1 - Truly Devious

Truly Devious

A Mystery

    • 4.5 • 276 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

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.

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 * Junior Library Guild Selection * 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination * 2019 ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination * Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 * Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction 2018 * 2018 Nerdy Book Club Young Adult Winner * Seventeen Best YA Book of 2018 * Lincoln Award Nominee * 2020-2021 South Carolina Book Awards Nominee * 2020 Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Winner

Young Adult
January 16
Katherine Tegen Books
Ninth Grade

Customer Reviews

floating raft ,

A little lacking, but good

In general the book was amazing but lacked in certain areas. If your looking for a murderer mystery that's not stressful to read, I recommend this book.

KThugs3 ,

3.5 stars for a truly captivating YA novel!

Wow! I want to start of by saying that this is my first novel that I have read of Maureen Johnson, and she truly has me hook, line, and sinker invested in this YA murder mystery series. I love me a good murder mystery that captivates me early on, even if it does happen to be a YA novel., that just means that I tend to read it much quicker than I would normally. Fans who loved the series “A Good Girls Guide to Murder,” “One of Us is Lying,” and “The Inheritance Games,” would probably enjoy this one. I know that I certainly did.

The book follows a girl named Stephanie, who goes by Stevie. Stevie on paper seems to be the typical teenage girl - she is embarrassed by her parents, has not had a serious boyfriend, sort of feels like an outsider, struggles with anxiety, and is a fan of murder mysteries.
Stevie had heard about Ellingham Academy, and decided to apply there with all the hopes and dreams of being accepted.
Ellingham Academy had been a school that was carved out of a remote area in a mountain top in Vermont and started by the wealthiest man at the time. The goal of the academy had been to accept only the most brilliant, unique, talented and creative students from all types of backgrounds where learning would be fun, open ended and all resources provided for free. The only problem was that the academy had to be shut down when their had been a kidnapping and subsequent murders of the wife, child, and one student shortly after opening. Fast forward to modern day, and the school had recently been open again. And Stevie wanted nothing more to be accepted into the academy. What was her area of talent and brilliance? None other than her area of expertise on the subject matter of the triple murders, and she went there with the end goal of solving the cold case.
Unfortunately, after arriving, things don’t go to plan. Can Stevie solve the cold case and tread water as another mystery begins to unfurl at the academy in current time? The only way to find out is to read the book!

Fair warning though, and the reason I didn’t rate this book higher — I like my books to end with all mysteries solved and with a nice little bow on top, even if it is a trilogy set. This one does end with a “to be continued,” and some questions left unanswered. Which is my personal pet peeve. That being said- I enjoyed it enough that I had to immediately dive into the second novel after finishing this one. I can’t wait to find out what happens next to the students of Ellingham Academy.

Brown_Bannana ,

Good but slow

I loved the idea of this book and when I first picked it up it was a super fun read, but the action doesn’t start for 200 pages and I have patience but unfortunately not that much. Like I said good but slow

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