January 26, 2020

The Hand on the Wall Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3)
Author: Maureen Johnson 
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
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New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.

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 Hand on the Wall is the third and final book in the Truly Devious series. I have to say that I'm on a roller coaster of emotions right now. On one hand, this book was an amazing ending to the trilogy. But on the other hand, I'm freaking out because it means that it's over. No more Stevie and Ellingham Academy - and I definitely want more. But I guess it's true when they say that all good things must come to an end.

You definitely need to read the first two books in the series before this one. They're all very connected and you'll be instantly confused once characters and events start coming up. This is not one of those series where you can read the books independently and still be okay. I'm still reeling from finishing the book, so my emotions and thoughts are completely scattered. I apologize if this review ends up with me rambling on.

The characters continue to be an interesting group of individualistic teens. I don't really want to call them weird or misfits, because they are who they are and don't try to hide it. Stevie continued to be an awesome main character and I loved taking this wild ride alongside her. She's incredibly smart, obsessive (which can be both good and bad), determined, brave, and so many other things. She's very realistic in every way - her personality, flaws, and mistakes. I immediately connected with her at the beginning of the first book and that connection only grew stronger as the series continued. One funny thing that probably made me identify with her a bit more was that her name - Stephanie Bell - is my maiden name. So it kind of felt like I was reading about a version of myself, in a way. I loved watching Stevie grow and mature throughout the book (and series). By the end of the series, I felt like I had been right beside her the entire time and we had experienced all of it together.

The plot continued to amaze me until the very end. This genre is one of my favorites, so it takes a lot to get me stuck in a mystery. But this book (and series) has so many different layers of mysteries that not only go together in the present but they intertwine with the past and mysterious events that happened then. I can't even count how many times I had a theory and was sure I had the answer only to have a huge plot twist knock me back to square one. The story was absolutely filled with twists and turns that I never saw coming, so it definitely had me on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next. It was incredibly well written and honestly kind of blew my mind.

The last thing I want to mention is the author's writing style. When it comes to point of view, I almost always prefer the first person. The author chose to write this series in the third person which normally I really don't like and it ends up losing points in my book. Even though I think this series would have been epic if she had written it in the first person POV, I understand why she went with the third person and it worked great. It ended up not bothering me at all actually, which is weird since it plays a huge role in any book I read. Plus there's the dual narratives - two narrators and two different timelines - intertwining and connecting to form this massive layered knot of mysteries. That was awesome. I love that she chose to do the dual timelines and have them kind of happen at the same time so you're watching two different stories play out (or is it just one big plot?) and trying to guess what's going to happen next in each one. It was a huge breath of fresh air from other books out there right now and makes it stand out not only in the genre but as an unique thrillride of a story/series. I can't recommend this book (or series) highly enough to anyone who loves YA mysteries and thrillers. Read these now!! You won't regret it!

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
Win a copy of THE HAND ON THE WALL by Maureen Johnson (US Only)
STARTS: January 21, 2020
ENDS: February 4, 2020

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