The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair

Book - 2019 | First edition
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Stevie Bell seemed to be on the cusp of the decades-old kidnapping and murder of Albert Ellingham's family. But a classmate's murder-- which Stevie solved-- convinced her parents to pull her out of Ellingham Academy. Then politician Edward King arrives at her house to offer a deal: he will bring Stevie back to Ellingham if she will play nice with his son, David, a fellow classmate. King is in the midst of a campaign and can't afford his son stirring up trouble. Stevie knows she can solve the riddles behind the Ellingham murders, but discovers that moving forward will mean hurting someone she cares for.
Publisher: New York, NY : Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780062338082 (hardcover)
0062338080 (hardcover)
Branch Call Number: Y M JOHNSON
Characteristics: 373 pages : illustration ; 22 cm


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PimaLib_ChristineR Apr 12, 2019

This is the second book in the Truly Devious series and book one needs to be read first.

Another mystery home run from Maureen Johnson! There are two things about this book that I love outside of the usual suspects like plot and character development. The first is that this series is a real whodunit from the classic school of mystery. We've got the continuing saga of Stevie and her search for the perpetrator of crime nearly a century old, while a more recent death is like a scab she can't stop picking at. Secondly, the writing is funny! Quips like, "they had been reunited for all of ten minutes, and already the library was infested with squirrels and he was calling on her to break into a room," "There was the moose sign again. There would never be a moose" and "'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'" all had me cracking up. (You have to read the book to get the running moose joke).

And we need the humour because the bodies just keep coming, Stevie begins an internship with a stinky cat lady, and Stevie's relationship with David is a roller coaster of emotion. If you aren't into teen love angst, this may not be for you, but I found that Stevie's worries rang true and her anxiety was handled admirably. My only gripe is that making this story into a series feels like a money grab (yeah for libraries!). The font in the physical copy is large and double-spaced. I have a feeling Johnson had the whole book written and it was broken up in thirds based on what fit comfortably rather than a natural ending. Still, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves a good murder mystery. As Johnson reminds us in the dedication, SSDGM.

Feb 21, 2019

Truly Devious is one of my favorite YA mystery series--this second installment did not disappoint!

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 23, 2019

I love this series so much. I sometimes lament the relative lack of really excellent mystery series in YA (compared to how many there are for both kids and adults), and these books feel like the best possible answer to that complaint. I read this in two sittings, just like the first one, and the pacing is just as brisk, the twists and turns just as unexpected, and the romantic subplot just as... frustrating? confusing? conflicted? as in book 1. Kudos also for such an excellent depiction of a character struggling with her mental health in a real and honest way. I cannot. wait. for the final book in this trilogy.


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