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Truly Devious

A Mystery
Narrated by: Kate Rudd
Series: Truly Devious, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
4 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early 20th century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place," he said, "where learning is a game."

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym "Truly, Devious". It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

©2018 HarperCollins Publishers (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda
  • Lawnton, Australia
  • 11-08-2019

Great book, terrible narration.

Kate Rudd narrated ‘The Fault in our Stars’ and I loved it! She did an excellent job at conveying tone and character, so my thoughts are that either she was having a bad week when she recorded this, or the director was an idiot. She often stresses words in a very robotic or non-native English way and it’s super jarring, even speeding it up didn’t help. I will be returning the audiobook after writing this.

I often use audiobooks to go along with a physical book, for times that I need my hands or eyes for something else, so I have finished the book and it is great! I can’t wait to get onto the next one, I feel that the characters are likeable and the plot is really fun. I think the characters are lacking a little in description and sometimes I had a hard time imagining what they looked like because I didn’t know their hair colour or even skin colour in some cases. You do find out later, so it’s not the worst thing, just a small criticism. I do recommend the physical copy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 08-04-2019

I enjoyed it, but I’m pissed about the ending

This book was truly addicting. I loved it. Right up until the end when the author literally says “to be continued.”

It kinda pissed me off. There was no resolution, just open ended questions leading the reader to believe that one person is probably the murderer (but let’s be honest that person likely didn’t do it).

131 of 137 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • April Anderton
  • 30-08-2018

Mystery Books Need Endings

Beginning, middle, end. Key elements to a story. Even a bad story.

The writing in this book is enjoyable, the characters are interesting, the pacing is great. Until it's not. The book is a mystery and everything leads up to the climax perfectly. The ending is so close, it seems it's going to wrap up nicely... and then it ends before there is ANY resolution. I understand that it's a series. I even get that a cliffhanger is a nice way to end a book in a series. When you string a reader along in a mystery, however, you'd better deliver the killer by the end of the book. The series can go on, more murders with the same characters, but RESOLVE THE ORIGINAL INCIDENT FIRST! Dragging things out for three books may work in other genres, but mystery readers generally expect ENDINGS to every volume.

122 of 128 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Henry63
  • 22-03-2018

Bad Ending

Enjoyed the story but the Ending! Leads you to and then down the Rabbit Hole with no ending in site (unless you buy book 2). Hate books like this that employ this marketing tool.

67 of 72 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gwendolyn Robinson
  • 08-04-2019

Truly Devious

Very engrossing. Keeps you guessing as to what’s going to happen next however the ending is a let down. You never find out what happens.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • stephanie
  • 14-09-2019

damn school trope got me

read upon recommendation. Thought it might be a harriet the spy type thing but the author just HAD to put in a "magical" school trope. The school wasnt magic but its still a special school with houses and students with special talents. So whatever this book had going for it was seriously ruined because of this overused trope. I did not think the ending was THAT bad. Not so much mystery and case solving. Too much focus on school imo.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • gwyndolin
  • 09-02-2018

Thoroughly Enjoyable Story with Awful Narration

What did you love best about Truly Devious?

WARNING TO ANY PROSPECTIVE READERS: Although I loved this book, it ends on a really obnoxious cliffhanger and almost nothing gets resolved.

But it's saying something that, despite that, I still really enjoyed it. I should've known going in after reading quite a few of Johnson's books that it wouldn't give me closure (pretty sure Suite Scarlett is NEVER going to have a third book) but after how disappointingly boring I found her book "The Name of the Star", especially for its cop-out explanation to the 'mystery' being GHOSTS ARE REAL instead of... a real mystery, I really enjoyed this story.

It's still not grounded in anything close to the reality you and I know, but that works for it. Eccentric millionaires and long-past murder mysteries that interweive with the present are far-fetched, but Johnson makes it believable enough to work. It is really obnoxious that basically nothing is solved by the end... but I guess that's one way to make us look out for book 2.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Truly Devious?

I loved the characters. Stevie was a pretty enjoyable protagonist - just weird and antisocial enough to avoid being bland but not too much that she was actually unlikable. As usual, Johnson handles the little love interest subplot very well. I thought Janelle could have used more development, but maybe she will get it in following books.

How could the performance have been better?

This may be the first time I found an audible narrator so distracting I almost couldn't go on with the story. Her annunciation is just so... off. She over pronounces the "t's" and ends of words. Weirdly, her voices she does for boys sound perfectly natural, but her usual narration for anything but dialogue (i.e. most of the book) is so grating and unnatural. It's almost like she's trying to do an impression of a vampire or something? It was just SO distracting! Plus, you can tell Johnson is a pretty funny writer, even in this book (I know she is from her other ones) but this narrator just can't seem to deliver her writing in any comedic way. Her timing is so off.

I really hope for the second book they get a new narrator.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had EXTREME frustration at the ending, but the last hour or so made my heart race a little bit. For a YA book, that's pretty damn good.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristin Krahenbuhl
  • 15-03-2018

Different narrator next time

Overall I liked this story but the narrator drove me NUTS! The are quite a few different male characters and she had the same voice for all of them.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas
  • 22-09-2018

No conclusion, ends with "to be continued".

Neither mystery is solved by the end of the story. In fact that author introduces yet another mystery into the mix. If your looking for a conclusion to the wonderfully begun mystery at the start of the book, you'll be disappointed.

Stevie is obnoxious. I suppose this is because she's "gifted" but I just find her grating and not endearing int eh least. The fact that she looks down on her parents is also irritating. Yes I know the stereotype is for teenager to not think much of her parents but Stevie acts like a bratty three-year-old at times.

42 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Kim
  • 06-12-2019

cliff hanger..cant hold on much looonnngger

do not care for writing a story and cutting it in the middle just so you can get 2 books out of it. did not even end in a logical place. trying too hard to be a screen play for some CW show

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian B.
  • 06-12-2019

Truly Inconclusive

The story is well written, but it is only part 1. The final chapter explains that the mysteries aren't solved, provides a case-cracking clue then stops. It shouldn't be sold as a stand-alone book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hannah Jolliffe
  • 14-01-2019

Brilliant story, awful narration

The story is brilliant, definitely worth the hype it received, but the narration is awful! Very much like Siri but with a little more emotion. At times it was fine, but so much of it was read in a robotic staccato drone. It was very off putting and stopped me getting carried away in the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Edmund Merrywin
  • 21-01-2020

Fantastic book but narration a bit werid

The narrator sounded like Siri. But the actual book is amazing! I really enjoyed the way it was written just not the way it was read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-11-2019

I’d advise you to read this book

I didn’t get to finish this book and that’s the biggest peeve of mine but the woman who narrated this book just put me right off. She sounds robotic and uninterested and I couldn’t carry it on. Id advise anyone to just read the book unless you can ignore the narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 09-07-2019

Loved the story, couldn't stop listening

I really enjoyed the story, the narration is terrible however I stopped thinking about the weird voice pretty quickly and just enjoyed the book

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Katrin Duraie
  • 29-06-2019

Horrendous narration

The narrator is really bad, almost robot-like. If Siri were to narrate a whole book, this is what it would sound like.

The mystery itself was subpar.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mashudha
  • 13-02-2019

Bad Narration

I loved everything about the book the biggest let down was the narration. The narrator is robotic it’s like listening to siri read! The only thing that kept me listening is the story line. I’ll buy the next book cause I don’t think I can manage listening to her voice any longer.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-12-2018

Did not finish

It was so boring and the story lost interest real fast. I did not manage to finish it, maybe i just wasn't in the mood to listen to this book. I tried to come back to this audiobook but it felt like a chore so I ended up not finishing it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniela S. Gram
  • 05-09-2019

Narration is Questionable

I really love the story and think I have found my new favourite book yet the narration isn't that great. It is robotic and sounds a little like Siri. Otherwise the book is great.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful