This is a book two. There may be spoilers for book one in the synopsis and my review.
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.
For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.
The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.
There are spoilers for Truly Devious in my review!!!
Why do I have to wait to long for book three? I have even more questions after finishing The Vanishing Stair.
This probably won’t be long since I don’t want to spoil anything. Stevie’s parents pull her out of Ellingham after everything that happened there went public. Ellie was still missing and the death of Hayes was considered to be an accident vs murder. But we don’t know Ellie’s involvement. Stevie misses Ellingham and her friends there. When Edward King tells her parents that he added security cameras and he thought Stevie should go back, she couldn’t pack fast enough. But nothing is free with Edward. He wants Stevie to go back and be friends with David since he’s acting out.
When Stevie goes back, she gets to start working with an author who is writing a second book on the Truly Devious murders. Stevie doesn’t share her findings with the author and the author is keeping some stuff from Stevie. But she does tell Stevie about a tunnel that no one knows about. She wants Stevie to find it to make sure it exists. Stevie is also doing research into Francis (Frankie) and Edward. She wants to know if they were involved in any way with the murders besides writing the Truly Devious letter. While Stevie digs into things, she ends up with more and more questions. She does figure stuff out, but not everything. And there are more casualties by the end of book two.
I enjoyed that the past chapters covered Frankie and Edward before going into the kidnapping. Maureen does such a good job of weaving everything together, while still making you question everything you’re reading. Are things solved? Or do we only know a little and then things will be revealed later? Again, I flew through this book and really loved it. I am officially a new Maureen Johnson fan.
I gave this the same rating as Truly Devious, 4 1/2 stars rounded up to 5.
Warnings are pretty much the same, too. Anxiety, murders, death, kidnapping, parental issues, politics. Also alcoholism, adultery, and lying to friends/loved ones. There is also some self harm (beating).
Have you read Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair yet? What did you think? Are you excited for book three?