Title: The Vanishing Stair
Author: Maureen Johnson
Age Group: Middle school and above
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: “The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son. But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present.”(Amazon.com).
I don’t always review sequels on my blog and mostly lean towards just reviewing stand alone novels or books that start a series. I think this is mainly because I often feel that these types of reviews are the most helpful to fellow readers and also because there is more to say about them. This belief is totally false, though. I actually think reviewing sequels is equally important and sometimes there is more to say about them than their predecessors. That’s why I am very glad to be reviewing this highly anticipated sequel in the Truly Devious series: The Vanishing Stair.
If you haven’t read the first book you should stop reading now, but if you have, then come along and hear my thoughts! Yes, I am serious because there are book one spoilers!!
So, because of this being the middle book in a trilogy, I had that ever present fear that it would end up being a filler (especially because I may have seen a review that said it was), but I loved the first book and so there was no way I wasn’t continuing with the series. I was really rooting for it to be just as twisty and fun as the first one and I think it totally was.
The beginning was, perhaps, slightly slow, but I still thought the mystery got off to a good start. This was, of course, my main concern, because even though I love the characters themselves I was really wanting to know what the heck had happened to Ellie after she ran away at the end of book one. Boy, did I get more than I bargained for! All I have now is more questions, more suspects, and only, like, three answers for all the questions I started with.
Going back to the characters, they really are some of the greatest ever. I love that the setting of the academy allows for such diversity among them and also that they are all really dug into as complex individuals. Each side character could probably have their own book written about them and their own adventures (I want this now). Also the way they all interact is my favorite part about this book, excluding the actual mystery. Their witty banter makes me laugh out loud, which is actually kind of rare with me.
Anyway, setting aside me having a lot of fun with the characters and feeling so caught up in the confusing mystery, I recommend this book a very high amount (even though there was also a crazy cliffhanger at the end–BEWARE!).