Saturday, March 2, 2019

Review: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Date of publication: January 2019

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. 

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.

This is the second in the Truly Devious series.  It picks up fairlysoon after the events of the first book.  Stevie has been brought back home by her parents after the end of Truly Devious.  They no longer feel she is safe there.  However, a powerful benefactor of the school convinces her parents to let her go back.  The condition?  She must keep an eye on his son, David.  I'm not sure that this one can really be read as a stand alone book.  If you read this first, parts of Truly Devious will be spoiled for you within the first couple of chapters. 

As in the first book, the story waffles between the present and events in the past.  As Stevie uncovers the current mystery at hand, the past scenes give us answers to older mysteries.  I did like this more than the first book.  We finally get some of our questions from the first book answered.  Plus, Stevie solves a new mystery. 

The characters were more engaging this time around.  I felt like I fgot to know them better. I'm not sure I was into the relationship between David and Stevie though. I thought his reaction to her when he found out why she came back to the school was a bit over the top.  Even after she explained things. Maybe that will get resolved in the next book?  I will probably be returning to the series when the next book comes out.  Once again, we are left with a big cliffhanger. Not everything it sresolved and I want more answers.

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