Book Review: Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson
Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson
Published: January 5th 2023 by Harper Collins / Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5)
Genre: Young Adult // Mystery, Thriller
Quick Thoughts: A cosy, smart and thrilling book with characters that feel like home.
About The Book:
Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.
Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.
The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.
Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.
@beccajayne17 Bookmail time ✨🧡 this stunning book by #maureenjohnson is coming 05/01/2023 by @harpercollinsuk (thank you to HC & Nina D. for this beautiful advance copy!) 🥰🏻📖 #booktok #trulydeviousseries #trulydevious #nineliars #books #bookrecs #yabooks #mystery #murdermystery #bookworm #gifted #arc #bookmail #beccajayne17 #bookish ♬ PLL Original Sin Can you keep it - Pretty Little Liars
Maureen is one of the best YA mystery authors, and if you haven’t started this series, well . . . you’re missing out. Getting to revisit these books with this newest sparkling instalment was the icing on the cake—it’s definitely so possible to miss characters. (I did hold this review due to the Harper Collins Strike in solidarity with their fight for fair wage, so you’ll be seeing this a lot later than I read it.)
Mystery-solver and all-round joy of a character Stevie is back. Senior Year at Ellingham, though? That’s not a joy for Stevie. Her long-time and long-distance boyfriend David is in London, and missing him and their overall dynamic is truly affecting her vivacious spark. All of her friends are focused on college applications, leaving their mystery days behind them in a new quest for adulthood. But this means that Stevie feels lost, without anything to solve or fix. Well, until David invites her and her friends to come to the UK and join him for a study abroad experience. The gang are thrust back together in an instant, especially when a friend of David’s mentions a double-murder from years ago that’s unsolved.
That’s how we get to know the centre of the crime involving the nine: a group of, yes, nine friends, that studied together at Cambridge University in 1995. They were an eclectic bunch—actors and artists among other things—that lived quite outlandishly. They go to one of their country houses one night and play a game of hide-and-seek whilst drunk, which is a mistake in itself to do while inebriated, fortified by two of them found murdered the next day with an axe. As Stevie and her friends learn of the case, which was initially thought to be a robbery that spiralled, they find more than they bargained for. And when that means someone lied about what happened that night, and someone may have seen what actually happened, it’s only the beginning of a dangerous game the killer is still playing.
Overall, Nine Liars was nothing short of the magic each Truly Devious novel held before it. There were moments of nail-biting angst, tensions rising and crossroads for Stevie and friends, mystery-related and personal. Although it wasn’t my favourite of the series, it still goes down as one of the best and was still a page-turner, just more of a slow-burn this time around. And with that ending, I’m sure we’ll be seeing Stevie around in another instalment—now that is far from a mystery. If you’re looking for a cosy, smart and thrilling book with characters that feel like home, this is the one for you.
About The Author
Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
Have you read Nine Liars?
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