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  • The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

ICYMI: The second in Johnson's young adult mystery series offers growing friendships, determined sleuthing, and young detectives' inspiration and instincts.

“How does this keep happening to you?” David said.

“Because I look,” Stevie replied. “A lot of things happen when you go out and do them on purpose.”

This is the second in Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious series (the first is Truly Devious).

Stevie Bell solved one mystery last year--the mystery of her murdered classmate. But just as she's pulling closer to solving the original mystery that drew her to Ellingham Academy (and just as she's beginning to piece together her complicated feelings about David, who she kissed), her parents pull her out of school and bring her home.

They've never really understood Stevie, and now they're set on having her forget all of this detective business and move on. But the longer Stevie is away from her friends, she realizes what anchors they have become for her. And far from forgetting about the decades-old mysteries of Ellingham Academy, Stevie is more obsessed than ever with figuring out what happened.

“I heard about her from one of the top librarians at the public library, this girl from Avenue A who read Greek and slipped into one of the rare books rooms three times. They said she was trouble, but good trouble. Good trouble.”

Johnson is a master of pacing. She kept me hooked and moved things along while not making me feel mystery-manipulated. Most importantly of all, she simultaneously developed her wonderfully complex, offbeat, and sympathetic characters and their relationships.

I loved this book!

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Maureen Johnson is also the author of Truly Devious, The Hand on the Wall, and the fourth book in the series, The Box in the Woods.

Johnson also wrote the young adult Shades of London series, which is based on Jack the Ripper's crimes. I'd like to give that a go too; the first title is The Name of the Star.

Her newest book, Nine Liars, which also features Stevie Bell, is scheduled for publication December 27, 2022.

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