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Truly Devious

(Truly Devious #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  28,796 ratings  ·  5,956 reviews
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
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by HarperCollins
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  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
    Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)
    Release date: Jan 16, 2018
    Enter for the chance to win an ebook of TRULY DEVIOUS by Maureen Johnson. And gear up for the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion, THE HAND ON THE ...more

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    Availability: 20 copies available, 3647 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Dec 03 - Dec 31, 2019

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Kasia Proce
    This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
    Molly Just finished the book. There's nothing supernatural, just a classic YA mystery novel.

    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.04  · 
    Rating details
     ·  28,796 ratings  ·  5,956 reviews

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    Start your review of Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)
    Chaima ✨ شيماء
    Me: *reads the last page and closes the book with a loud thump*

    Me, in a Buzzfeed Unsolved voice: with that in mind, let’s get into the THEORIES.

    First of all, if I think about it hard enough, my physical form isn't even an objective fact of the universe and if I want the sequel to this book right now, I should have it.

    Second of all, I still don't have the barest idea of who did it....but I suspect aliens were involved.

    So, what’s this book about?

    At Ellingham Academy, Stephanie “Stevie” Bell
    Emma Giordano
    Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you need a new YA mystery novel, this is the one for you! Truly Devious totally took me by surprise. I had no idea I would love this book as much as I did!

    Cw: murder

    I loved our main character, Stevie. I wish this book existed in high school so that I could have had a female protagonist interested in true crime to relate to. I feel Stevie is extremely competent, self-aware, and has a really great head on her shoulders. I also loved her best friends, Janelle – we need more
    “A girl from Pittsburgh came to Ellingham Academy and she wanted to see a dead body. She got her wish.”

    Friends, you’d think a book that is centered around two different murders would be a lot more exciting and enjoyable to read. I know I sound harsh already, but I just really thought I was going to love this one. But I truly only ended up loving the atmosphere of the setting and the amazing anxiety rep. That’s it.

    This story stars a young girl named Stevie, who just got invited to attend
    Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Holy cliffhanger. THAT ENDING!

    I cannot express how happy I am that I actually put off reading this until now. I don't think I could have waited a long period of time for the sequel.

    It was truly devious of Ms. Johnson to leave off on such a cliffhanger!

    Ellingham Academy, set in the remote mountains of Vermont, is a private school for gifted students. Founded by the wealthy industrialist, Albert Ellingham, at the turn of the 20th Century, the posh Academy offers up an environment where learning
    Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Um what?!?! I need book 2 right now. The end was such a teaser, things were just starting to come together. I need answers! Haha
    JOHN GREEN, PAY ATTENTION. This is how you write a cool mystery-y book with quirky teens without making me want to die.

    Okay, John Green, you can stop reading now. I think it would make me uncomfortable if you read the rest of this review, considering the mean things I’ve said and the mean things your fans have said to me in the comments of my mean things. We just have too much backstory.

    Now, for the rest of you!


    As soon as I heard this book was “unsolved murder mystery at boarding
    Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
    i swear, there is no better feeling in the world than getting to a big reveal in a murder mystery and being able to shout, ‘I KNEW IT!’

    maybe that makes the story too predictable and easy, but wow, what a confidence boost and what an enjoyable book! for a plot revolving around a murder, this was surprisingly light? the story had a very easy going and game-like feel to it. this was also a slow burn mystery (nothing really happens until about halfway in), but it was done in a really effective way
    Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    That cliffhanger though.
    Ashley Nuckles
    Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    C.G. Drews
    I have come to the conclusion that murder-mysteries that aren't standalones and therefore don't wrap up in one book are very stressful. I have QUESTIONS and no answers and also no sequel in my cold clammy paws. Dammit, universe.

    Anyway this was my first time reading a solo book by Maureen Johnson! I definitely enjoyed this! I read her short story in Let it Snow and can 100% confirm that I remember nothing because it was like, um, 4 years ago that I read it. Anyway this reminded me a ton of John
    3.5 Stars

    I don't think I'm suppose to like this book. I mean I should like it and I did like it but I don't know why I liked it.

    The plot sounds great Stevie is a True Crime fanatic (something we share in common) who's bookcase is filled with the great detective novels, such as Sherlock and Poirot. She listens to True Crime podcast and is obsessed with the ID channel (again something we share in common) and hopes to become an FBI agent when she grows up. Stevie applies to and is accepted into
    April (Aprilius Maximus)
    May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2019, anxiety, favourites
    1.) Truly Devious
    2.) The Vanishing Stair .5


    Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick)
    That cliffhanger though
    Chelsea Humphrey
    I’ve tried this one on three separate occasions and it’s just not working for me. I think it’s just my fault and not the book’s; I’m not connecting and keep putting it down to read other things. On to the next!
    Larry H
    May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    4.5 stars.

    Stevie Bell has always been a bit different than her peers, much to her parents' chagrin. Much of her childhood and teenage years have been spent feeding her obsession with true crime and mysteries. Her parents wanted her to do the things "normal" teenagers do—hang out with friends, participate in extracurricular activities, maybe even date. But what Stevie wants more than anything is to solve crimes, to one day be as revered as some of the legendary detectives she loves reading about.
    Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2019-reads, e-books
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

    Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

    “You have to take things as they are, not how you hear they’re supposed to be.”

    I usually read contemporaries or mystery/ thriller novels when I want to take a break from the Fantasy genre! This was like 60% Mystery and 40% Contemporary and I am not sure if that was a good combination.

    The writing style was good, not too poetic, not too bland! It was right for a story of this kind. I think
    Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
    Recommends it for: Fans of A Study in Charlotte

    So I've performed a fit of astonishing perseverance and read the whole book. Was it worth the effort? Not really, but I am at least ready to discuss details with my book club mates.

    It's not that this novel is bad. I don't think it is. It's an ok mystery, with historical flashbacks that are much more compelling than present day obnoxious kids mucking about. But it's just so very boring. The main character is boring, the students are precocious and boring, they talk about boring things and
    Nilufer Ozmekik
    May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
    Three a little disappointed but still determined enough to give a chance to the second book of trilogy stars.

    Firstly what I liked about this book:
    Curiosity didn’t kill the cat but intrigued a dog lover like me, mostly I’m really wondering the correlation between the murders in the past and now! So I want to learn more! The series still keep my attention and last half was real page turner.

    I always enjoy murder mysteries. I liked references of Christie and Conan Doyle books, methods of solving
    Shaun Hutchinson
    I really enjoyed Truly Devious, but it wasn’t a complete story. There’s not a single story arc in this book that comes to a conclusion, and that’s frustrating as hell. The book simply ends mid plot. I should have known better because the same thing happened with the Shades of London series.

    So when I went to the bookstore and saw this book I didn't even second guess when it landed in my hands and I handed over money like a robot buying books. It's like I woke up from my haze the next day and had no idea how many books I bought. I should probably stay away from book stores.. but we all know that would never happen. I might die!

    Okay so the beginning of Truly Devious was truly amazing. I was hooked instantly. It reminded me of so many previous books, movies,
    chan ☆
    Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2018, ya-contemporary
    a main character bold enough to knock herself unconscious when her anxiety gets to be too much

    this book was much better than i was expecting, thank the fucking lord. i've read a couple of maureen johnson's other books and haven't ever been very impressed. this one kind of changed my mind about her.

    basic premise is that a wealthy 1930s tycoon starts a free school for children in the mountains of vermont where he also hosts small but lavish gatherings with the rich and famous. said tycoon's wife
    Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    I didn't know this would have a sequel I AM SHOOK. With most books that switch back and forth between timelines, there is usually one I like more than the other. That wasn't the case here. Between present day and the past, we were presented TWO intriguing murder mysteries to solve. Though I didn't love the conclusion here and felt we weren't exactly given enough clues to solve the present day mystery until the very end, I literally gasped out loud no less than three times while reading, and ...more
    Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
    I received an advanced reader copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

    WHAT DID I JUST READ?! How did that ending happen? Vague answers, hints at something conclusive, but left with almost...nothing? I’m so confused and kind of pissed off. What did I just read? Was I truly waiting for a semi-decent conclusion when all I got was a “to be continued”? I get that it’s the first in a series, but seriously, what the actual living f*%# did I read? At least give us a decent conclusion!

    Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams.
    They are not supposed to be famous for murders.

    Albert Ellingham created a school that knows no limits. He wanted learning to be a game for those who attended. Tuition is free and everyone learns at their own pace. It's a dream for anyone to attend. Although, shortly after it opened, Ellingham's wife and daughter were kidnapped and never found. A mysterious riddle listing ways to murder had appeared a week prior signed
    may ❀

    IM VERY MUCH IMPRESSED BY THIS BOOK AND ITS MYSTERY (especially since i literally went into this book knowing nothing about anything bc who reads the synopsis?? not me)

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    I enjoyed this, but I feel like the audiobook was definitely the wrong way to go for me. It was too hard for me to keep details straight and I was mostly just confused. Definitely going to re-read this one in physical form before the next book comes out so I can be better prepared!
    jv poore
    I love Maureen Johnson. Truly. And I thought this book was fast-paced, captivating and overall exciting and entertaining.

    But. I'm either an idiot, a complete jerk, or possibly both, because this bugs me: a character is referred to as "Truly Devious" based on a letter which was 'signed' "Truly, Devious". This makes me think that "Truly" was the closing (in lieu of "Sincerely") and "Devious" was the writer, so the character would just be "Devious" or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek "Truly, Devious".
    Camile Souza (This Chamber of Books)
    It's a miracle, a mystery book that legit kept me guessing all the way through. I'm always guessing things too quickly on mysteries, so this was a breath of fresh air.

    I'm so happy I was this engaged with the story that I'm not even mad that Truly Devious leaves many important answers for its sequel. Maybe I'm just cool because we're so close to the release in January.

    I don’t know why, but I was kind of really tense reading this. It's not a creepy book per say, but maybe the setting of the school
    Peter Monn
    Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Omg!!!!! So good. But the ending. Literally screaming out loud. My full review will be on my booktube channel at
    Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
    It took me a whole to warm up to this murder mystery, but the ending is so danged good I can't wait for the second in the trilogy. Why is everything a trilogy !!!??

    Teen super sleuth Stevie gets into the elite Bellingham Academy on her letter alone which is about how much she wants to solve crimes. The school comes with its own kidnapping and murder and she knows all about it and wants to solve it. She is an oddball so of course I took to her right away and has never had too many friends and on
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    Who really killed Hayes? *spoilers* 5 151 Sep 29, 2019 10:07AM  
    The Procrastinato...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Truly Devious (August 2019) Group Read Discussion 33 49 Aug 23, 2019 06:08PM  
    Addicted to YA: Truly Devious 19 99 May 01, 2019 04:58PM  

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    Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.

    Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers

    Other books in the series

    Truly Devious (3 books)
    • The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)
    • The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)
    “Where her books were, she was. Get the books right and the rest will follow. Now she could address the rest of the room.” 43 likes
    “When you have enough power and money, you can dictate the meanings of words.” 33 likes
    More quotes…