Truly, Devious

Title: Truly Devious (#1)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Published: January 16th 2018

Pages: 416

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary 

Publisher: Harper Collins

Listened to on Hoopla


Wreath(13)-BlackGoodreads Description: 

Author Maureen Johnson weaves a tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a new series.

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.


Things I enjoyed about this book: 

Truly Devious featured an awesome intriguing female protagonist that’s super into crime- which I love. I wish I would have had her as a role model in junior high! Truly devious happens in two different time periods, it took me a minute to keep them straight, but I enjoyed the parallel stories.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

I didn’t love all of the characters. Some of them were kind of obnoxious to me. I wont say who, so that you can decide for your self 🙂 I felt like there could have been more character development.



Maureen Johnson deserves four bird feathers for her novel Truly, Devious. I thought it was clever and had a great setting. I wanted to go to the school. I found myself wanting to listen to find out what would happen and thats the sign of a good book. I wasn’t too excited about the ending and for that I took a feather away. I was left more confused then wanting more. There are very few series that I stick with and this one, while I enjoyed it, I probably wont remember enough details about to read the next one. So I do recommend it but perhaps closer to when number two comes out!

Parent’s Guide:

I’d say it’s an older teen read. There is homosexuality, teen angst, sexual tension lol, and MURDER! Perhaps co-read and or discuss at the end!


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