Book Review – The Hand On The Wall

It’s no secret that I’ve been absolutely raving about the Truly Devious series since reading them earlier this year, and I’ve honestly not been so absorbed in a trilogy for a long time. Full of twists, turns, and a few more twists just to be sure you’re on your toes, here I am, finally ready to review book three. The standalone fourth book that’s coming out later this year is already pre-ordered, and in the meantime, I’m going to cling on to my memories of Stevie and her group of wonderful misfits in this third instalment. My review of the second book, The Vanishing Stair, is here.

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

This conclusion absolutely did the series justice, and that’s all you can hope for in a finale. Things started off weird, got weirder, and finished in a full blinding wave of astonishment. Honestly this book blew me away.

Stevie was absolutely certain she had figured out who Truly Devious was, and then everything was blown out of the water – almost conveniently, time wise. Left with her deductions and her growing concerns for David, she’s torn in various directions, and trying to tread cautiously, as her suspicions – and certainties – grow.

When the snow storm sets in, and Stevie and friends are faced with the option of sneakily staying on campus to work against another big problem, she only hesitates a moment before making the only decision she possibly could have. As they hide out of sight, Stevie’s brain is still spinning at a super speed, and it’s as things develop on site that she becomes more certain of her original theory.

The solution to the full mystery is one we’ve been being given snippets to since the first book, with the way the dual timelines have worked, and it’s only as this book draws to a close that we – and Stevie – manage to piece it all together.

A work of brilliance, I can’t wait for another glimpse into Stevie’s world in the standalone that is coming later this year. Maureen Johnson is as much as a genius as Stevie is, and shouting “MORE!” at the books is the only logical thing to do.


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