Do you like YA novels?
Young adult fiction is a category of fiction written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age. While the genre is targeted to teenagers, many YA readers are adults. I have read some YA novels that I enjoyed, including The Hunger Games and The Book Thief. Other popular YA novels that have been made into movies include the Twilight series, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, The Hate U Give, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. (I think the Harry Potter series was classified as middle school and not YA.) When Truly Devious, a highly rated YA novel by Maureen Johnson, went on sale at Audible I decided it might be a fun read.
The publisher describes the plot as follows: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth-century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” Soon after opening the school, a student is murdered, and Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter are kidnapped by someone who has sent a message signed by someone who signs their name as Truly Devious. In modern-day “true-crime aficionado Stephanie “Stevie” Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.“
Wait! Why didn’t I read that last sentence before buying the book? How did I miss that the actual title is Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)? In order to find out whodunnit, I would have to read the other two novels.
Truly Devious is definitely targeted for the teenage market and not adults. Unlike The Hunger Games, which had serious adult themes, this novel has a lot of high school angst of “does anybody like me?”, rebelling against school rules, etc. These aspects of the story bored me. There is something about the Audible narrator’s voice that seemed sing-songy at times and flat at other times. After listening to 40% of Truly Devious, I’m calling quits. I would have finished if the mystery was solved in this one book.
Since I was not the target audience for this book, it wouldn’t be fair for me to rate it. I can see it getting 4 and 5 stars from those who enjoy YA novels.
Next up will be Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke, which is my book club’s February selection. It should be a very grown-up read.