Pseudonym’s Anonymous

Discovering Truly, Devious

More stories from CarolineS

The Wild Hunt
February 26, 2020

photo provided by: PureWow

A photo of the book Truly, Devious

It’s the 1930’s, and the mountains of Vermont are a steep and rugged terrain. No one would think to build a school there, as the conditions aren’t anywhere close to ideal. No one, that is, except for a billionaire by the name of Albert Ellingham. He had a dream to build a school where the students were free to learn through any method of their choosing. And he decided to start that dream by building an unconventional school, Ellingham Academy, off the side of a remote mountain.

At first, everything was great. The students loved the school and wanted to be there. Ellingham was one of the wealthiest men of the time. However, wealth can sometimes invite problems.

Trouble came one night when a man breached the security of the school, and kidnapped Ellingham’s wife and daughter.

It’s now present day, and a girl named Stevie Bell is on her way to the infamous Ellingham Academy. Stevie loves crime. And where better to study crimes than the site of a famous, unsolved murder kidnapping?

Truly, Devious by Maureen Johnson is the first book in a new trilogy and is the equivalent of a roller-coaster. The story is told through duel time periods, which adds an extra layer to the story. While reading about Stevie’s first year at Ellingham Academy, the Ellingham cases itself unravels. This writing decision adds more content, as well as context, to the story.

Getting inside Stevie’s head throughout the book is fascinating. The way she thinks and acts on her love for crime is a unique take on the stereotypical detective. Truly, Devious can be compared to a modern-day Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie book. Inspiration is drawn from these two authors and it shows.

The characters in Truly, Devious are refreshingly varied and developed. Some have quirks, some don’t, but all are fairly lovable. The friendships formed during the book are interesting and play with the story line well.

While this book has many great aspects, there is some room for improvement. The ending of the book bounces all-over-the-place. Out of nowhere, there’s a plot twist which abruptly ends the book. And while Stevie is a good character most of the time, she has a habit of messing things up and sometimes being irritating to the reader.

Even with the few critiques, Truly, Devious is a very enjoyable read. With the entertaining story line and unique premise, this book gets a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s well worth any time and effort put into reading this book.