Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book Review: The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

Published: January 21, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Pages: 369

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: This book review comes to you from the strangest time I've ever lived in, and I'm guessing it's the same for all of you as well. But, you can go anywhere to get talk about all of that, so let's talk about this book instead.

The Hand on the Wall is the last book in the Truly Devious trilogy, a trilogy I didn't know I was getting into when I read the first book, as most mysteries end up being solved in one book rather than a series. But, I guess since this series is looking at multiple mysteries, it makes a bit more sense. Not that everything always needs to fit into the same box, but you get what I mean.

Yes, things are solved. We know whodunnit - both what happened to Alice, and who was responsible for the deaths of everyone in the modern day. The real question is - were these reveals satisfying? There were certainly surprises, and perhaps a couple of disappointments (not as a reader, but as someone who was hoping for a better end for some characters, like if they were a real person), but yes I overall would call it satisfying. I didn't leave it with lingering questions, and found certain comeuppances quite deserved.

That being said, the first book in this trilogy still remains the best for me. The next two kind of flow together, so I'm not sure if I liked one more than another. Did it truly need to be a trilogy? That is a little more questionable, because when you think about it, did a lot actually happen? Hmm. I'm not 100% certain there.

Nonetheless, I would definitely recommend this series if you enjoy mysteries, and particularly if you enjoy mysteries that happen in inherently mysterious places such as the fabled Ellingham Academy.

Rating: 4/5

Buy on Amazon

What I'm Reading Next: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


  1. I completely agree. The first book was the best, but the series as a whole was enjoyable. I'm glad I read it and thanks for bringing the first one to my attention! Hope you are staying safe and healthy during this crazy time. :)

    1. Yeah there is something to be said for a quick and enjoyable series to read! Glad you liked it as well!
      I hope you and the family are doing well, too, I know this year has already been challenging for you guys, and this is just adding to it all! Hard to believe this is all happening sometimes!!