The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson, the final book in the Truly Devious trilogy. This was a fun mystery trilogy to read, despite some minor gripes!

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen JohnsonThe Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
Series: Truly Devious #3
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 21st January 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

The Truly Devious series is one that started out really strong. I was hooked by the mystery in the first book, and by Stevie’s love for true crime, and so I absolutely flew through these books.

That said, Truly Devious is still the strongest book in the series. I strongly believe that the following two books, The Vanishing Stair and The Hand on the Wall, should have been combined into one book. The Vanishing Stair turned into a filler, and The Hand on the Wall lacked the same snappy writing that I loved in Truly Devious.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy The Hand on the Wall, because I did. I enjoyed learning even more about Ellingham Academy, and I enjoyed reading about all the reveals and the characters putting everything together. It was a lot of fun, and I always enjoyed how Johnson flicked between the past and the present day with her storytelling.

Another thing I really enjoyed about The Hand on the Wall was the side characters and their relationships. Not David, of course (more on him later), but Stevie’s other friends are all pretty wonderful, and contributed a lot to the story. I could have read a whole book just about the friendship group, to be honest.

Now, David. I hate him. His relationship with Stevie is the most unhealthy thing, and I’m honestly annoyed and upset and offended that Maureen Johnson keeps trying to push this pairing on readers – especially since the majority of her readers are teens.

My exact problem with David is how he spent two books completely ignoring Stevie. He spoke over her, he refused to speak to her, and he flat out pretended she didn’t exist, no matter how much she tried to address him. He later claimed this was partly for her protection, which is bull. I’m so unhappy with this unhealthy relationship, and I’m really unimpressed that Johnson kept it going.

The Hand on the Wall isn’t a bad book, but it’s certainly not the strongest in the series. It was fun to get some closure and to see the friendship group again, but I couldn’t get over the unhealthy relationship or the fact that the final two books should really have been combined into one.

2 comments on “The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

  1. Kal @ Reader Voracious 20/02/2020 10:36 pm

    I skimmed your review because I still need to read this one (but have been dragging my heels because of how meh I was about The Vanishing Stair), but I feel you 100% on the feeling that this should have been a duology even though I haven’t read the third book yet. I adored Truly Devious, so I was pretty disappointed. Thanks for your review, I will lower my expectations accordingly!

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