Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: 2 stars
Ugh.. I wanted this book to work for me, but sadly it missed the mark. The main character, Stevie, is super into books and true crime, and she also struggles with anxiety and trying to make friends. So basically, I could relate to her 100%. Sometimes it did get painful reading about Stevie getting caught up in her own head, but I could really appreciate how realistic the portrayal of Stevie dealing with her anxiety was. I think I only stuck with this book because of Stevie and how relatable she was as a main character. The major problem was that she just didn’t really do much throughout the whole novel. In fact, none of the characters did much throughout the novel, and the slow pace was what really killed this story for me.
“Here she was, watching a case up close, giving a statement,
experiencing all the things she so longed to experience.
All it took was for someone to die.”
The story revolves around kidnapping and murder, so I expected it to be exciting and to draw me in from the start. That’s not the experience I ended up having. I really didn’t expect this novel to be as boring as it was. This story moves pretty slowly, and I really didn’t feel like much happened throughout almost all of the book. There are flashback chapters that help to break things up a bit, but they were sparse and didn’t feel like they fit with the rest of the story very well. We had the current timeline showing Stevie and her struggles to adjust to life at a new boarding school, then we had interjections of the past with the kidnapping and the mystery, and the two different timelines made the story feel a bit disjointed. I didn’t find myself really caring about the new classmates making a movie, and wanted to hear more about the murder that happened and the intrapersonal relationships between all of the characters. I wanted more hangouts between the Montgomery house kids and less Stevie in her head and being worried she was doing or saying the wrong thing. Unfortunately things in this book played out way too slowly to hold enough of my interest and to make me feel invested in the final outcome.
Let’s talk about the final outcome. I seriously could not believe that I convinced myself to finish this book only to end up with an ending that didn’t resolve things. The last page of the book literally said “To be continued…”. So, that means I forced myself to finish the novel in an attempt at finding out the truth about the murder-which was the only actually interesting thing about this storyline-only to be left without any resolution. The author should have cut out a ton of the boring fluff in the beginning, slimmed the story down a bunch, and actually given us an ending instead of a “cliffhanger” that ended up being more annoying than intriguing. The final reveal about who was in the helicopter solidified this book’s status as a total mess, and things were left way too open ended for my taste.
“Games are not fun when you don’t know you’re playing.”
Overall, yes to Stevie, no to the horrible plot that I suffered with for longer than I should have. And a double no to the fact that there wasn’t even a real ending. Do I continue the series to see how everything ends up and to not have completely wasted my time? Do I quit the series now out of annoyance? Guess I’m going to sit and stew on this for a little while before I make up my mind whether or not to continue, but I would recommend not even starting this series. The plot is dragged out to a snail’s pace, and there isn’t even a satisfying conclusion at the end to make it feel like the time spent was worth it.