BOOK REVIEW: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson


Title: The Vanishing Stair
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 376


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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.


I am totally obsessed with this series as a 30-something grown adult woman and I am not ashamed to say it. I have now reviewed a few books by Maureen Johnson and I just really enjoy all of them. The Vanishing Stair is no different.

The story follows Stevie as she continues her investigation into the Ellingham case and continues to grow her friendship with her little group of misfits she has met while at school. I love that Stevie is so adamant about wanting to solve this case that many detectives haven’t been able to solve. But saying that, I love how Johnson makes Stevie’s journey so believable. I know it’s unrealistic to think of a teenager solving a huge crime, but everything Stevie does in this book is believable and realistic. Everything she does could have been something another teen with an interest in crime like Stevie could have solved.

I also really love the character development of Stevie and all her friends. Janelle has taken a more front facing spot in this book as her relationship with Stevie grows and Nate is beginning to become one of my absolute favorite characters. He’s always trying to get Stevie to think through her decisions, but then goes along with her anyway. Johnson has created this amazing group of characters that has a little bit of something for everyone reading and I think that really dictates how much I have connected to this book. Even though I am no where near their age, it reminds me of great memories with my own friends.

I love the riddles in the story and those really kept me guessing in this book. I could not figure out what they meant and was not able to see the ending coming. I feel like this book, much like the previous ones in this series, kept me guessing and had so many twists and turns. My only complaint is that it ends with more of the story left and I have to wait to see what happens! On to the next book!

An absolute must read if you love good, twisty mystery, thrillers, or if you love a really good teen detective story. Put down whatever you are reading and go get this series!

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