Young Adult Book Review ~ Truly Devious

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When I was working at the library I spent a good part of my day reading the new books that came in in order to be able to recommend them to patrons. I breezed through multiple picture books a day and then at least one middle grade and one young adult book each week besides taking books home for my personal reading. I wish I had that kind of time to devote to reading these days but no such luck. And unfortunately it’s been the young adult books that have slipped by the wayside. And with the diminished numbers I’ve not found as many amazing books to shout about. But this one redeemed everything. I couldn’t put it down.

In 1936, Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter disappeared from the millionaire’s lavish mountaintop retreat and private school in Vermont. His wife’s body was eventually found but not before he’d paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom. His daughter remains missing and while someone confessed there were too many questions left unanswered and the case remains cold to this day.

Enter Stevie Bell, high school junior, who has been admitted to the Ellingham academy because of her obsessive interest in the case and in studying detective work. Her classmates are equally focused on their various pursuits; an artist who’s spent the bulk of her life in a commune, an internet video star, an inventor/engineer, an author and more. But they’re not all the innocent students they’d like each other to believe and when one of them ends up dead Stevie is forced to question her instincts and everything she thinks she knows.

Told in alternating chapters between Stevie’s day in/day out routines at school and flashbacks to the events of 1936 I was riveted from page one. Be warned, there is no conclusion in this volume. This is the beginning of a trilogy so you’ll have to wait (but hopefully not too long!) before getting all the answers.

Truly Devious book review

Truly Devious
Written by: Maureen Johnson
Number of Pages: 416
Publisher: Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2018
Age Range: 12+
Rating: 4.5/5

Young Adult Book Review ~ They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End Book Review

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They Both Die at the End

Written by: Adam Silvera

Number of Pages: 384

Age Range: 14 and up

Rating: 4/5

In a not-too-distant future, Death-Cast, a group that is somehow able to forecast the exact date of a person’s death, calls each person just after midnight on their End Day. This gives people the chance to take advantage of many organizations and companies that create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, offer discounts and help provide for the end of life.

Two very different teens in New York both receive their calls and set out to try and reconcile a few things before they die. Mateo’s a bit of a recluse who needs to say his goodbyes to his best friend and her daughter and his comatose father but his anxieties continue to plague him even in the face of death and he ends up back in his apartment, alone.  Rufus is in the midst of beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend (with the help of a few of his gang) when he gets his call and then dashes from his fake funeral leaving his friends to deal with the cops that show up. They both sign onto the app, Last Friend, which connects them with each other and their differences balance each other out leading to a day filled with sky diving, karaoke, soaking in the sites and food of the city, making amends, saying goodbye and falling in love.

Yes, they really both die but there’s a lot of living, philosophical discussions and food for thought crammed into their last day.  And as the two guys face their mortality, their life choices and what it means to live and love the reader can’t help but face those same questions about their own lives.  It’s definitely eye opening and would make for some fabulous discussions among reading groups.