The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson | Book Review

As far as final instalments in a series goes, this one was pretty decent.

I first picked up Truly Devious in 2018, during my final year at University, and fell in love with the series. The Hand on the Wall is the third and final book in the Truly Devious trilogy, a YA murder mystery which follows Stevie Bell, a true-crime aficionado, as she enrols at the infamous Ellingham Academy with the intent of solving a legendary cold case of kidnapping and murders. As Stevie investigates, strange things begin to happen in the present day, and people start to go missing. The Hand on the Wall wraps up the trilogy, flipping between the past and the present to tie up all the loose ends.

Objectively, there isn’t much wrong with the book. Johnson’s style of writing is easygoing, the book’s plot is intricate and interesting, and there is ample representation of different kinds of people (cis, queer, disabled, to name a few). The problem for me was that by the time I got my hands on this book, two years later… well, the story was no longer as exciting. Perhaps if I read the whole series again from the beginning, I’d enjoy it, but even though this final instalment was well-paced and well-written, I frequently found my mind wandering as I read, and I skimmed portions of the book.

In my opinion, this book suffered the classic final-book-in-a-series disease, where it couldn’t possibly live up to the intrigue that had been built across the first two books.

Did I enjoy reading this book? Yes.

Did I enjoy the series as a whole? Sure.

Would I read it again? Probably not.

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