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Truly Devious

(Truly Devious #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  110,494 ratings  ·  16,418 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 kid
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by HarperCollins
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Erica Robyn Metcalf Yeah, I was pretty annoyed with the ending. I didn't know this was part of a trilogy when I picked it up. The ending felt so rushed and then so out of…moreYeah, I was pretty annoyed with the ending. I didn't know this was part of a trilogy when I picked it up. The ending felt so rushed and then so out of the blue. I'm on the fence now about whether or not I'll pick up the next book.(less)
Molly Just finished the book. There's nothing supernatural, just a classic YA mystery novel.…moreJust finished the book. There's nothing supernatural, just a classic YA mystery novel.(less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  110,494 ratings  ·  16,418 reviews

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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 b
Haley pham
Oct 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-tbr
4.5 stars!
chai ♡
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. [rolls huge chalkboard into the room]

daph pink ♡
Truly devious:- ⭐⭐.15/5
Vanishing stair :- ⭐.75/5 Read review here
Hand on wall :- ⭐⭐.5/5 read review here

*Spoiler alert*

Yeah so oh boy, I just read this renowned, esteemed, honoured and lauded book that everybody was asking me to read when I last wrote in my review to suggest me a good y/a mystery thriller book.

And please, to people who asked me to read this, just shoo go away you may not be able to Handle this!!

And also the people who haven’t still read this please go away because there ar
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a successful reread. I'm so happy!

I'm planning to reread The Vanishing Stair very soon as well and then FINALLY continue on with the rest. I'm not just saying that...


I am so excited to be rereading Truly Devious, one of my favorite YA Mysteries of all time!

I really want to close this series out, but I read the first two books so long ago that I want to reread them and then binge the rest. Let the games begin!!


Holy FREAKING cliffhanger!!!

I am actually happy I put o
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 is surprisingly... light? the story has a very easy going and game-like feel to it. this is also a slow burn mystery (nothing really happens until about halfway in), but its done in a really effective way whe
“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 at
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was my first YA murder mystery.
I will definitely be reading more.

Truly Devious follows a true-crime enthusiast and aspiring detective named Stevie who gets accepted into a mysterious school called Ellingham Academy. Years ago, a series of murders signed "Truly, Devious" shocked the community, and Stevie is determined to solve the mystery.

My favorite thing about this book was definitely the atmosphere. It was ominous, unsettling, slightly creepy. Something big was always on the verge of ha
Kai Spellmeier
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Love the story, hate the love interest.

I read this book in a single day. Granted, I spent almost 7 hours on a train and had no evening plans so it was just me and the book and no one else for a whole day but I'm not gonna complain. It was a good day, and I say that despite hating spending more than 90 minutes on any mode of transport, be it trains or planes.

I though it was an extremely good start for a mystery series. The setting is exciting as it is a super rich boarding school for the very tal
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 m
Chelsea Humphrey
I thought this was fine, but it definitely felt more middle grade than young adult to me while reading.
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it

Maureen Johnson tells us the story of Ellingham Academy and the students studying there. Albert Ellingham was the founder of this private school. His wife and daughter were kidnapped shortly after the school was opened in the early part of the 20th century. Stevie Bell joins the school now in the present with the plan of solving the above case, which happened many years ago. The use of prolepsis might disconcert some readers, but the enigmatic way in which two conundrums unravel will provide
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, anxiety
1.) Truly Devious ★★★★★
2.) The Vanishing Stair ★★★★.5
3.) The Hand on the Wall ★★★★.75



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
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That cliffhanger though.
Ashley Nuckles
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
chan ☆
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 a
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". Ma
Kayla Dawn
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was..... ridiculous.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
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 El
Reading_ Tamishly
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
***want to binge read something good? This trilogy is perfect 😘

Picked up this one like two or three times before, it's interesting and all that. Somehow I am not a big mystery reader and I thought that the book would go on forever. And then I thought the anxiety issues and the panic attacks of the main character weren't handled well when it comes to the attitude of the adult characters towards these.
The first half is a bit too slow for me.
Other than that, this was a perfect read.

I absolutely lo
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Okay, I love Stevie and her love of sleuthing. I’m not sure how I feel about it overall. I did enjoy most of it; that shit end though! 🤨 Other than that, I have no words!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

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.
Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin)
That cliffhanger though
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.
Mar 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
Welcome to Ellingham Academy , a perfect school for the brightest thinkers, inventors, artists, and a place where learning is game, founded by the early twentieth century tycoon, Albert Ellingham.

Unfortunately, shortly after the school opened, Albert's wife and daughter were kidnapped and a student was killed on the school premises. The suspect, who gives riddles as clues, calls itself, Truly Devious. This became one of the greatest unsolved crimes in history.

Fast forward to the present, St
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, 2019-reads
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 w
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!

The bui
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Other books in the series

Truly Devious (5 books)
  • The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)
  • The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)
  • The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
  • Nine Liars (Truly Devious, #5)

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