- MP3 CD: 1 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged MP3CD edition (22 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1982610409
- ISBN-13: 978-1982610401
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 17 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 81.6 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious series, Book 2) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Super Audio CD - DSD
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MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Super Audio CD - DSD
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Praise for Book One of the Truly Devious series:
''The Agatha Christie-like ecosystem pairs with lacerating contemporary wit, and alternating past and present scenes makes for a multilayered, modern detective story.'' --New York Times Book Review
''Remember the first time reading Harry Potter and knowing it was special? There's that same sense of magic in the introduction of teen Sherlock-in-training Stevie Bell.'' --USA Today (four stars)
''Be still, my Agatha-Christie-loving beating heart.''--Bustle
About the Author
Maureen Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author of ten novels for young adults, including The Name of the Star and 13 Little Blue Envelopes. She lives in New York City and travels to the United Kingdom regularly.
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I should have been done after book one (which, of course, also ended on a cliffhanger), but more-so because of the authoress' clearly biased politics. Now, some may find this to be nit-picking on my part, and maybe a bit overblown, but I need to say it:
It takes a really bitter person to fashion a series around a kidnapping/murder investigation, and make the main villain totally unconnected to that a (although never explicitly confirmed, but glaringly obvious) Republican Senator. A man who is cold, so far as of now unrelated to the central mysteries, and evil for the sake of being the story’s antagonist. We’re never told why he’s a bad guy in any direct way; He’s obviously not a very good father, shady, and has a hidden M.O., but Stevie frequently refers to him as “the devil” and “racist, fascist scum.” This is a person who Stevie blatantly wishes, while on a private plane with the man, was dead— she wonders at the plane crashing, and if the world would be better off if he perished. Like... what the??? Even if she were to die as well, she says it would be for the greater good. That is a RADICALIZED, HATEFUL mentality. Everyone in the book has such strong, negative reactions to this Senator. And don’t try and tell me that Edward King is never mentioned being a Republican. It does not take a genius to put it together, and this is just another case of a bitter author using her platform to demonize the Republican Party. We’re not all racist, bigoted, xenophobic sheep. What I get from this is that anyone who associates with Republicans is shunned and ostracized. It’s shameful. The story could’ve been so much better without this plot line. It was unnecessary to what I wanted to read based on the initial blurb from book one.
That rant over, I can get back to the book as a whole— but whole, it really isn’t. Splitting up a YA mystery into three books is a strrrretcccchh. And it feels that way. There is so much expository stuff that could have been chopped away, and turned this trilogy into a fairly longer standalone. It would have worked better that way. Even a duology would’ve been fine! No more frustrating cliffhangers, and a lot less (if I’m being honest) boring filler.
Some random side notes:
•A good mystery typically lays most of their cards on the table and begs you to “SOLVE ME (if you can)”. Here, we’re given some clues to start, and then thrown other tidbits of clues at the very end we could never have picked up on. Ever. And again and again, we’re fed more, but it doesn’t feel fun. I want to know the broad strokes, and THEN the smaller details. And we can’t do anything about any of it, even if we knew the answers to some, until Stevie gets it in her head.
•David and Stevie are toxic together. I don’t understand the pairing AT ALL!
•Again, I found this book too “young” for me. It lacked the hardcore sleuthing I craved, and was pretty “Nancy Drew for the modern age”, but with more hipsters.
•I wanted more Nate, Janelle, and Mudge— the only sensible and interesting characters.
•I have to give credit for the way Stevie’s anxiety is handled. Props for accurate depictions of panic attacks. Mental illness is no joke... but there is something seriously problematic with David’s behavior, and no one acting on getting him help is sad.
I’m done with this.
The Vanishing Stair was one of my most anticipated sequels for 2019 after falling absolutely in love with Truly Devious last fall. I was really excited to see what happened after that incredibly rude cliffhanger, and hoped to get more answers in this installment. 🕵️ I am pleased to say that we got some much-needed answers (& some new questions!), as well as more actual investigating, but overall this one fell into the middle book syndrome for me. It was an enjoyable and I will finish the series, but if I am being honest I could have done without the first 40% of this book.
The book opens up with Stevie back home in Pittsburgh, her parents having removed her from Ellingham Academy after news got out about what happened - and Stevie's involvement - in the end of the previous book. She's trying to readjust to life back home while still obsessing over the Truly Devious case, but we as readers feel the same disconnect she does once she leaves the Academy. Lucky for everyone she gets back into Ellingham, but not without strings. And the longer she keeps that truth hidden, the worse it is going to be for her.
"Murderers aren't a type. They're anyone."
I got 40% into the book before any real investigating started to take place, which was a lot more of a disappointing pace than in the first book. I feel like there was a lot of repetition and reiteration in the narrative of The Vanishing Stair, and in my opinion there is little of value that was added in the first half of the book to where the mysteries uncovered here could have been part of book 1 and it may have been stronger for it.
I was rather disappointed with the "secrets for getting back into Ellingham and the subsequent fallout" plotline. The conflict made little sense to me and I was left wondering why she even kept it a secret to begin with. (For conflict, that's why.)
I will say that this series has some amazing anxiety representation in it, and I really appreciate how Stevie's anxiety is almost a character itself in this book. As a person who suffers from chronic and crippling anxiety, it means a lot to me to see it depicted with care on the page and have it normalized.
Despite my not really enjoying myself for almost half of the book, once the investigation and clues begin to fall into place I was absolutely hooked! I really enjoyed how everything was unraveled slowly, and you can tell than Johnson has plotted the main points of the overall mystery with care. I'll admit that I guessed the big twist, but that isn't uncommon for me to do so it never really lessens my reading experience. I felt like the ending made sense and I am excited to see how things wrap up!
Overall, while this wasn't a perfect read for me it was definitely an enjoyable addition to the Truly Devious trilogy! You'll learn the solution to Ellingham's final riddle in this one, but there's still more of this mystery to uncover. Looking forward to seeing how this one ends!