Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Boarding School Book Number 1

I picked up Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson because it falls into that YA mystery/thriller category I'm interested in this year. Additionally, I've read other books by Johnson that I've liked. What's more, this book deals with a contemporary character who is trying to solve a mystery in the past. I just happen to have a completed unsold middle grade manuscript with that scenario.

Stevie Bell has been accepted into Ellingham Academy in Vermont, which she wants to attend because of the murders connected with the place back in the 1930s. She's interested in becoming a detective and solving the Ellingham Academy case, she believes, will bring her closer to her goal.

I like the historical period in which the murders occurred. Yes, it's true. I have many historical periods I long as they're nineteenth into twentieth centuries.

The setting for this book is great for me, too. Stevie and her parents start out on I-89 from Burlington. I was just there at the end of August! I've done the I-89 route many times over the years. And when they get off the highway onto a "smaller road dotted with stores and farms and signs for skiing, glassblowing and maple sugar candy?" I bet that's the road that goes past Waterbury to Stowe.

Truly Devious works for me in almost all ways. My main complaint? It's the first in a serial. I've enjoyed serials in the past, but mainly completed ones that I could binge read. I will admit, I will keep my eye out for Book 2, The Vanishing Stair, which was reviewed in the March/April The Horn Book. The reviewer highly recommends reading Truly Devious first, though she also says it's a "fulfilling second volume."

And, she says, information is held back for a third volume.

Well, I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy of The Vanishing Stair in the next month or so. Which I guess is why serials exist.

This is, as I said, a YA mystery/thriller, part of my study of the genre. What am I taking from this? So far, the romantic or physical attractions in this book do not overwhelm the story or world, as they so often do. The romances seem to exist because this is a teenage world, and teenagers do this sort of thing. There is a logic to it. It becomes part of the setting.

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