The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair

eBook - 2019
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New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller! In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel in the Truly Devious series, there are more twists and turns than Stevie Bell can imagine. No answer is given freely, and someone will pay for the truth with their life. 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. Praise for Book One: “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
Publisher: [S.l.]: HarperCollins, 2019.
ISBN: 9780062338105
Characteristics: 384 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary


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This book, guys. This series, seriously. I don't even know what I'm feeling right now, but I'm going to write until I figure it out I guess.

The Vanishing Stair picks up right where Truly Devious leaves off, so spoilers from this point forward - don't read this if you haven't read the first book! Stevie has been sent home from Ellingham, and she's devastated. She knows who David's father is, Ellie is missing, Hayes is dead, and her involvement landed her in the papers and in hot water with her parents. When Edward King comes to call and gives Stevie a proposition she can't refuse, she finds herself back at school, where the mystery is only deepening, on multiple levels. Stevie has two cases to crack between the 1936 kidnapping of Iris and Alice and Hayes' death and Ellie's subsequent disappearance, and things are only going to get more interesting...

Once again, my hat goes off to Maureen Johnson. This was so utterly addictive and thoughtfully written. Every time a clue or a reveal is happening, I just have to sit back and go over everything in my head to reconnect the dots, and that feeling of "ohhhhhhh my god" is so much fricken fun. I love having no idea where things are going, because I truly, truly feel like I don't with this series.

Stevie is once again a strong, complex lead character. She's still dealing with her anxiety and with the demons of her past, but she's so committed to the cases she's dealing with, so invested in solving them and finding closure, and that drive really showed in this book. She was in real detective mode, especially at the very end, and I felt like I just wanted to crawl inside her head and piece together what she was slowly working her way towards.

And, just like last time, that supporting cast is SO ON POINT. A particular relationship that I loved this time was between Vi and Jenelle. The non-binary rep is wonderful, and witnessing both of them going googly-eyed over each other just made me want to die from happiness. And Nate. I love Nate. I will never stop loving Nate. I was laughing out loud at some of his comments and I truly feel like I need him in my everyday life because his storm cloud-facade just made every scene he was in brighter.

There were some more romancey elements here this time, but they just worked with the story so well. What could have become a triangle didn't really feel like one; David and Hunter are so different, and Stevie, though curious, never verges into the weird love triangle territory (thank god). David is interesting, and I see the appeal, but I also always feel like shaking Stevie and telling her that she's better off on her badass own because her mind is incredible and nobody's got time for a boy to swoop in and take it away from the things that really matter.

The ending is what really gets me about this one. HOW DO I SURVIVE THE WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT ONE??!! I have so many questions that need answering, so many thoughts and theories that are just a messy jumble in my head right now and I just...I want to know. I WANT TO KNOW, OKAY?

I guess I'll go dive into some fantasy to reset my brain because I don't know how I'm going to leave these characters behind. My god did I love this.

Gina_Vee Feb 05, 2020

This was a great second book in the series! I'm going to try to write this without spoilers. More story and plot is definitely involved and reasonings for things are revealed. The riddles still confuse me a little, but to the careful reader, it'll make perfect sense. Shocking moves and history is revealed, and you might think you have all the answers towards the end of the book... but you don't. I'm definitely excited to read book three next. I love that preferred pronouns are used. I actually hated the uneasy feeling you get at the end of the novel, but only because I was hoping for all the answers even though I know it's a trilogy. I cried over a character I won't name or state what happened to he/she/them because spoilers. I laughed because the past characters are given a lot more personality in this book and it's delightful. Overall, a great, worthy, and worthwhile second book in the series.

Sep 10, 2019

I have to say that I enjoyed this book (book 2) in the series more than I enjoyed book 1 Truly Devious. In the first book we are introduced to Stevie Bell and her classmates, and I remember feeling super frustrated while reading that book because I only wanted to know about the 'Truly Devious' mystery. I remember not caring for Stevie Bells character because I felt at the time that her character had no 'reason' for being involved in the 'Truly Devious' case. I felt that her and her classmates were kind of random and just off topic. Now after reading book 2 and finally seeing that Stevie Bell is actually working towards finding out the mysteries of the Ellingham kidnappings, I kind of really like and appreciate her character! I actually preferred her character setting in this book over the flashback sequences this time, which was the complete opposite of my opinion for book 1. I think after reading book 2 I could probably go back and read book 1 and have a completely different opinion of the novel than I had originally, because book 2 is definitely better than book 1. There is more romance in book 2 than book 1, a better mystery in my opinion in Stevie Bells time and there were finally some answer about who 'Truly Devious' really was, and it was NOT what I was expecting at all! The last book "The Hand on the Wall" comes out in January 2020, and I can't wait for this story to finally be concluded and for all of my questions to finally be answered.

Jul 17, 2019

This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I loved jumping between the past and the present which definitely kept the story interesting. The sequel was just as good as the first, if not better, with intriguing mysteries that kept me immersed in the book the whole time. I definitely recommend reading this, and the author did a great job subtlely recapping the last book in order to update the reader! I hope there's a third book coming out.

ArapahoeTiegan Jun 17, 2019

The mystery has gotten even more intriguing! This book ended way too fast and now I am upset at having to wait for book three..

May 08, 2019

I loved it the mystery kept me guessing and I could not put it down.I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Apr 12, 2019

This is the second book in the Truly Devious series and book one needs to be read first.

Another mystery home run from Maureen Johnson! There are two things about this book that I love outside of the usual suspects like plot and character development. The first is that this series is a real whodunit from the classic school of mystery. We've got the continuing saga of Stevie and her search for the perpetrator of crime nearly a century old, while a more recent death is like a scab she can't stop picking at. Secondly, the writing is funny! Quips like, "they had been reunited for all of ten minutes, and already the library was infested with squirrels and he was calling on her to break into a room," "There was the moose sign again. There would never be a moose" and "'How does this keep happening to you?' David said. 'Because I look,' Stevie replied. 'A lot of things happen when you go out and do them on purpose'" all had me cracking up. (You have to read the book to get the running moose joke).

And we need the humour because the bodies just keep coming, Stevie begins an internship with a stinky cat lady, and Stevie's relationship with David is a roller coaster of emotion. If you aren't into teen love angst, this may not be for you, but I found that Stevie's worries rang true and her anxiety was handled admirably. My only gripe is that making this story into a series feels like a money grab (yeah for libraries!). The font in the physical copy is large and double-spaced. I have a feeling Johnson had the whole book written and it was broken up in thirds based on what fit comfortably rather than a natural ending. Still, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves a good murder mystery. As Johnson reminds us in the dedication, SSDGM.

Feb 21, 2019

Truly Devious is one of my favorite YA mystery series--this second installment did not disappoint!

Age Suitability

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Feb 06, 2020

bearitc thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Gina_Vee Feb 05, 2020

Gina_Vee thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Gina_Vee Feb 05, 2020

Other: There is more PDA... though the location of said PDA actually isn't very public, and said PDA is not enough to fit into the Sexual Content category for some.

Gina_Vee Feb 05, 2020

Coarse Language: There is more cursing in this book than the first.


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