Double Review: Truly, Devious & The Vanishing Stair

Hello, bookish friends! ✨

Today we’re going to be changing things up a little bit and talking about two books in one post. Earlier this year I read Truly, Devious and The Vanishing Stair, which are the first two books in the Truly Devious trilogy. Both of these books ended up being four star reads for me and after the way The Vanishing Stair left us hanging I am powering through this year as best as I can until we get more answers.

I’ve been trying to write my reviews separately for each of these…and it’s not working because I definitely don’t want to give much away. So, instead of writing two full length reviews, we’re doing a two for the price of one type of deal today. Which is coincidently what this book brings to the table.

Let’s dive in!

What’s it all about?

Truly, Devious and The Vanishing Stair follow Stevie Bell, a true crime expert, who is one of the lucky ones chosen to attend the famous private school, Ellingham Academy. The academy was founded by a business tycoon, Albert Ellingham, who wanted to create a place where people could learn about the things that truly made them happy, which is why each student has their own personal skill or talent that they have excelled at. However, shortly after opening the academy Albert’s wife and daughter were kidnapped and never found again. The only clue was a letter left behind signed Truly, Devious, making the Ellingham Academy kidnappings one of the greatest unsolved crimes in history.

Stevie Bell, attends Ellingham Academy with one goal in mind…to solve the the Truly Devious case. But when students being to go missing and bodies are found, Stevie Bell realizes she has not one but two mysteries to solve.

The Verdict

If you’re like me and love reading about true crime then this is probably going to be a hit for you, and getting two mysteries for the price of one just makes this even better. I listened to the audiobooks for both of these (which were fantastic by the way), and let me tell you, I was transported right back into my childhood reading as many Nancy Drew books as I could get my hands on.

One of the reasons Stevie Bell makes a really great MC is because even though she is ridiculously smart and brilliant, she suffers heavily from anxiety. The representation is done extremely well and makes Stevie feel all the more real. Not only does she handle her anxiety as best as she can with calming techniques and medication, but she has a supportive group of friends who help her cope with it as well.  I enjoyed that she wasn’t able to totally disassociate from herself at a crime scene and stare unflinchingly at a dead body without calming herself first like most “detectives” are able to when trying to solve a crime.

As for Stevie’s group of friends at Ellingham Academy, I love how they all bring something different to the table. They all help Stevie push further in solving both of the crimes with all of their quirks and talents. Without them this story would definitely be much flatter. And yes, if you are interested there is a love interest in this story. I’m still deciding how I feel about it but let me tell you it has definitely brought some game changing moments to these books. My lips are sealed as to what those moments may be though.

Now, on to the plot twists! One of the reasons I really enjoyed both of these books is because I couldn’t for the life of my figure out the big question…whodunit? Which technically, we’re still trying to figure out for one of the crimes, but I have so many theories that it’s almost impossible to narrow it down. Actually, scratch that, it is impossible to narrow down all the theories I have. Which drives me wild because normally I’m good at figuring things like this out, but for the first time in a long time I am STUMPED. There are so many plot twists and riddles that it will make your head spin. Plus, we can’t forget the MASSIVE cliffhangers both books end on, totally not fair.

All in all, if you enjoy true crime and channeling your inner Nancy Drew this trilogy will definitely be a hit for you. I buddy read this with some dear friends of mine Amanda (Classy x Book Reviews), Rae (Thrifty Bibliophile), and Books in the Skye. It’s safe to say all four of us are eagerly waiting the final book in this trilogy!

Until next time,


3 thoughts on “Double Review: Truly, Devious & The Vanishing Stair

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