Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review: The Vanishing Stair

I'm going to be coming at you with a bunch of book reviews this week and probably next because I finally am getting the reading groove back and finishing up books I've had on my desk. Lucky you, baby.

The Vanishing Stair - Maureen Johnson

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. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

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. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life. 

I read the first book in this series, Truly Devious, awhile ago so I didn't remember all of the details but I will tell you I think reading that is helpful before this one, but I suppose it isn't completely dire to do it. I didn't remember a good portion of book one and I felt OK through this one but if you're a sucker for details, read book one. OK? 

OK. So this book is mostly Stevie trying to solve the case so that she can get back to the things that are important to her. I really love kid detective stories because honestly, kids aren't stupid and they are often better at sorting things out than the adults because they are willing to consider the impossible or the improbable. I will say I really enjoyed this book and I got through it quickly with both of my older kids (ages 13 and 10) clamoring to get their turn. It does cover some subjects that might be kind of tough for some kids, like kidnapping and death, but my kids got through Harry Potter so they'll be fine.

I will say, if I had to find a thing with this book that made me feel kind of meh? It would be the thing we learn that's been a question from book one. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to know what it is BUT. It wasn't as big as it was hyped to be AND I feel kind of sad that it's not a carry forward to the third book. It would have been better (for me) for it to be an even bigger thing and get a few more clues in this book to get you excited for the next book. I guess it doesn't matter and maybe the author has another trick up her sleeve for the next one, and I'll find out because I plan to read it because this series is surprisingly hard to put down and really great. I always worry about a series when book one was really good- can the author keep it up? In this case, Maureen Johnson did just that. Bravo.

I'm the lucky duck who got an ARC of The Vanishing Stair courtesy of the publisher (THANK YOU!) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Happy reading!

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