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The Vanishing Stair

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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 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.

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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 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.

30 review for The Vanishing Stair

  1. 5 out of 5

    شيماء ✨

    How am I supposed to....go on being a person after that ending? Let me preface this by stating that this entire review could be replaced by a footage of me striding down a big hallway in a fancy period gown yelling “fuck fuck fuck” because that would more accurately sum up all my feelings. So, what’s this book about? Stevie is cast away from the Ellingham academy by her parents and promptly ordered to push the sour remains of her time in Ellingham to the back of her mind. But Stevie’s mind is sti How am I supposed to....go on being a person after that ending? Let me preface this by stating that this entire review could be replaced by a footage of me striding down a big hallway in a fancy period gown yelling “fuck fuck fuck” because that would more accurately sum up all my feelings. So, what’s this book about? Stevie is cast away from the Ellingham academy by her parents and promptly ordered to push the sour remains of her time in Ellingham to the back of her mind. But Stevie’s mind is still awhirl with thoughts and memories, and, at the center of everything: the mystery of “Truly, Devious”. She’d gone looking for answers, and gotten none, and the puzzle wouldn’t let her go. Now her friend is missing, one of her classmates is dead and When Edward King, the abhorrent politician Stevie’s parents work for, offers her a private jet ride to the academy in exchange of keeping his son in line, Stevie doesn’t hesitate before she claws at the offer with both hands. Stevie thought she could catch the mystery of Ellingham like fireflies in a jar, but the enormity of it soon reaches out to catch her. Now she’s churned under the horrid sense that fate was hunting and had already picked out its quarry. I finished this book with the sudden urge to pace, bitter and frantic and feeling every second of my frustration and deprivation. It was almost unbearable to come so close to getting answers, to barely feel and almost taste before being snatched away and left to walk the circle of my own thoughts, which centered partly on the question of: who the hell was the first person to invent the concept of cliffhangers and have they ever issued a public apology? I really loved this book. I read it in one sitting, the hours trickling past unnoticed, and silence reigning, broken only by the shush of pages turning. The Vanishing Stair is immaculately plotted and a real page-turner. It’s outstandingly enjoyable and addictive. The author craftily takes on two timelines, two chilling mysteries with truly elusive solutions, multiple deaths and supports all of that with engaging characters and a strong action-thriller backbone. The result is a remarkably smooth narrative experience. This sequel really outdid its predecessor. Secrets swell to bursting, tension rises, the pace picks up, dread lances through every moment and the story corkscrews into a tighter and tighter coil before it ends abruptly and leaves you panting for more. I was completely riveted. The characters dig up the past, push for answers, tip the dominoes, and alongside them, burning threads were racing through my mind, connecting far-flung dots and filling in blanks, erasing question marks and adding a dozen more for every one erased, before the truth is unraveled and recognition sparks, sharp as a shock. I love Stevie’s character and how she often blurs the line between caution and daring, unwilling to yield to the tiresome compromise that striking balance between the two tends to be. She doesn’t dwell on the possibility that her ambition to solve a centuries-old mystery may lay far beyond her talent, instead, she accelerates towards doom and peril without thinking ahead of the repercussions. It’s pretty fun to spend time inside her head. I’ve also grown so fond of the cast of characters. Nate, especially, is my absolute favorite. If I were a fictional character, I’d totally be him: he’s extremely introverted, has zero conversational skills, represses emotional trauma, is unimpressed by the risks the main characters are taking because, and I quote, “why. do. people. do. stupid. things,” and will probably still be alive by the end of the series. New characters are introduced as well, demanding the spotlight for themselves and leading to further entanglements,  like the eccentric Dr. Irene Fenton who wrote about the Ellingham murders and recruits Stevie’s help to further her research. I think my one and only quibble with this book is that I wanted more page time with David and Stevie. Their relationship has grown fraught with the untold weight of their secrets and I just wanted to grab them both by the shoulders and scream: “PLEASE COMMUNICATE.” Overall, The Vanishing Stair was an immensely engrossing and rollicking experience and I can’t wait for the story to drag out all its secrets in the next and final installment! 4,5 stars BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLR

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma Giordano

    WOWOWOW I loved this book so much!! A fantastic sequel, possibly even more enjoyable than the first installment, which was tough to beat. CW: anxiety/panic attacks, murder, death, abduction I came away from The Vanishing Stair with such a greater appreciation for this entire series. From the impeccable characterization to the flawlessly constructed plot, The Vanishing Stair is everything one would want from a second installment. It’s not as if anything was lacking in Truly Devious, but the sequel WOWOWOW I loved this book so much!! A fantastic sequel, possibly even more enjoyable than the first installment, which was tough to beat. CW: anxiety/panic attacks, murder, death, abduction I came away from The Vanishing Stair with such a greater appreciation for this entire series. From the impeccable characterization to the flawlessly constructed plot, The Vanishing Stair is everything one would want from a second installment. It’s not as if anything was lacking in Truly Devious, but the sequel made me fall in more in love with every aspect of this story. The mystery really takes an unexpected turn in this novel, going in a direction I had not expected and leaving me wanting more. It is truly difficult to predict the many twists and turns that make this one of the greatest young adult mysteries I have ever read. I cannot recommend this series enough! If you have yet to start it, you are in for a real treat. This book was sent to me unsolicited and for free by HarperTeen. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    4.5

  4. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    you know that feeling when you misremember how you felt about a book, potentially romanticising it, because you swear the story was just that good?? i think i did that with ‘truly devious’ because i went into this expecting it to be a five star read. and maybe thats my fault. i should have done a quick reread beforehand because this sequel did nothing to help me remember why i thought i was obsessed with this story. dont get me wrong. its still a pretty solid sequel and a really good book, but i you know that feeling when you misremember how you felt about a book, potentially romanticising it, because you swear the story was just that good?? i think i did that with ‘truly devious’ because i went into this expecting it to be a five star read. and maybe thats my fault. i should have done a quick reread beforehand because this sequel did nothing to help me remember why i thought i was obsessed with this story. dont get me wrong. its still a pretty solid sequel and a really good book, but it didnt live up to my unfairly high expectations. what i enjoyed most was that i kept wanting to turn the page. MJ has perfected the art of subtle giving - just enough to keep the reader satisfied, while also making them want more. the pacing is really good, there is never a dull moment, and i thought the story did a great job at picking up where the previous book left off. however, there is a pretty big reveal in this book, one that readers have been dying to know since the beginning, and i was very underwhelmed with it. its one of those reveals that the reader would never guess because it kind of comes out of nowhere, with none of the given hints leading to it. so thats a bit of a bummer. but overall this is a fun and exciting book. definitely not as good as the first one (based on how i remember it), but still very much worth my time. im looking forward to seeing how things get wrapped up in the concluding instalment! ↠ 3.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Edit: Happy Release Day! ***** Look a riddle! Time for fun! Should we use Some juice or gum? Scissors are sharp And gleam so pretty Syrup's slow Which is a pity Fire is festive Drowning's slow Detergent is a Soapy way to go A broken spine A nasty rip A book colliding With a drip Acid makes a very jolly look Such ways to Punish naughty books What shall we use We can't decide Just like you cannot Run or hide Give me an ARC of this book Or we shall destroy book one Ha ha, Truly, In need of this book | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch Edit: Happy Release Day! ***** Look a riddle! Time for fun! Should we use Some juice or gum? Scissors are sharp And gleam so pretty Syrup's slow Which is a pity Fire is festive Drowning's slow Detergent is a Soapy way to go A broken spine A nasty rip A book colliding With a drip Acid makes a very jolly look Such ways to Punish naughty books What shall we use We can't decide Just like you cannot Run or hide Give me an ARC of this book Or we shall destroy book one Ha ha, Truly, In need of this book | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest |

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gaby (lookingatbooks)

    Dear Maureen Johnson and whoever publishes this trilogy, Please send me the arc for this immediately as I am having a spaz attack after the cliffhanger of book number one, okay? Sincerely, Someone who wants to know who’s in the photo

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “Where do you look for someone who’s never really there? Always on a staircase but never on a stair.” 🌟 The Vanishing Stair was what I expected it to be; an unnecessary bridge to the third book and this whole series could have been a duology. Yes, this book fell into the second book syndrome with much blabber and not much happening till the end! 🌟 I enjoyed book 1 more than I did with this one because there were much t This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “Where do you look for someone who’s never really there? Always on a staircase but never on a stair.” 🌟 The Vanishing Stair was what I expected it to be; an unnecessary bridge to the third book and this whole series could have been a duology. Yes, this book fell into the second book syndrome with much blabber and not much happening till the end! 🌟 I enjoyed book 1 more than I did with this one because there were much to explore in it and not much to do so here! I read the 2 books in January so I didn’t have to go through that excruciating waiting that most of readers went through. I was slightly disappointed with how things carried on from the start. After the ending of book 1, you would expect a better beginning than the one this book had. 🌟 My feelings toward the characters did not change, I am not a big fan of any of them but I stand corrected on one point; I mentioned on my review of book 1 that the characters should be better given that it is a school for the best of the best. I don’t know how it escaped my attention but really, most of the students in the school were there as friends of the owner or they are connected to him in that way whether in the past or present! 🌟 There wasn’t much happening and I got bored, the last chapters were good and maybe it is because things finally happened then and we got an explanation to one of the mysteries. 🌟 Summary: This book was like book 1 in terms of characters, writing and the world-building. Less happened but we got ourselves some answers at last. I am not convinced in the contemporary/ Mystery mix but I am willing to read the last book when it is out!

  8. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    THE TITLE THO ! FUCK ME UP MAUREEN

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    YOOOO THIS TITLE. (if you know, you know.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    This one hit the spot in all the right ways. The first book felt a little unfinished for me, but this one fleshed out the mysteries, gave us answers, and set up the mysteries for the next book. All in all a really great read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nastassja

    **This review now posted on my blog** Dear readers, may I present you a desperate attempt of a bad poet with a shitty rhyme at expressing her WTF feelings aimed at The Vanishing Stair aka The Torture Device aka one more year of desolation aka nine circles of hell aka-- You get the picture! Riddle riddle on the wall, who's the wickedest of them all? You are wicked, there's no doubt. But the slyest of them all is Maureen Johnson! Riddle riddle on the wall, how do I survive the fall? Under stair and s **This review now posted on my blog** Dear readers, may I present you a desperate attempt of a bad poet with a shitty rhyme at expressing her WTF feelings aimed at The Vanishing Stair aka The Torture Device aka one more year of desolation aka nine circles of hell aka-- You get the picture! Riddle riddle on the wall, who's the wickedest of them all? You are wicked, there's no doubt. But the slyest of them all is Maureen Johnson! Riddle riddle on the wall, how do I survive the fall? Under stair and straight to hell Do I beg or scream or kill? You will fall, there's no doubt. Brace yourself and get a knife. Riddle riddle on the wall, what the fuck is going on? The truth is close, there's no doubt. But you're too dumb to get the hint! Riddle riddle on the wall, do you tell the truth at all?! Truth or dare, which one'd be fair? Heart attack or puzzle slain? Curiosity's a hit! Cat will eat it in one seat! If you want to know the truth, wait another year to choose! Haha. Dear readers, if you fell victims of this riddle book as I did, please contact me down below in the comments to discuss a revenge plan on it. Yours, truly dead

  12. 5 out of 5

    April

    This series just gets more and more addictive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Welsh

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. THIS IS AS GOOD AS YOU ARE HOPING. Stevie is still great, Ellingham Academy is still the best school ever, murder is still happening, but NOW IT IS PROPERLY FALL so I want to live in this book EVEN MORE than the first one. (Oh, but the mystery, you ask - sure! The mystery GETS EVEN BETTER. I can say no more.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    "(...)Nothing compares to a good book. A book gives you everything, it gives you a window to others soul, other worlds. The world is a door, books are the key." 5-star reading I can't believe that I have to wait another year for the next book!!!! I really loved this one, we finally get some answers about the mystery that was presented in the first book, but we also end the book with some other questions. Now, I'm way too curious, no way to know what will happen next and I know I have to practice "(...)Nothing compares to a good book. A book gives you everything, it gives you a window to others soul, other worlds. The world is a door, books are the key." 5-star reading I can't believe that I have to wait another year for the next book!!!! I really loved this one, we finally get some answers about the mystery that was presented in the first book, but we also end the book with some other questions. Now, I'm way too curious, no way to know what will happen next and I know I have to practice patience since I have to wait one year to get some answers. Stevie, for me, was a strange character but she also had this charm that made me like her and also care about her life and her need to solve this mystery. I have to say that I don't agree with some of her decisions (but well, that is normal for me in YA) but in the end, I could understand why she made some of them (even when she also knew they were wrong). A great and fast read. Loved every second of it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peter Monn

    So goo! A full review is up on my booktube channel http://YouTube.com/peterlikesbooks

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lily ☁️

    If the title is any indication, The Vanishing Stair is going to be g e n i u s. Blog ¦ Bloglovin’ ¦ Tumblr ¦ Instagram

  17. 4 out of 5

    rachel

    #1) Truly Devious ★★★★★ Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary-ellen

    3.5 stars. The second book in this historical/contemporary, mystery/thriller reinforced my opinion that this is really one big book that has been split into three, rather than three separate books in a series. They don’t work that well independently. What was great about this instalment is that we learn a lot more about how the historical crime played out and who was involved, but with one key detail left undisclosed. I had it worked out before the reveal, but the revelation around who made the no 3.5 stars. The second book in this historical/contemporary, mystery/thriller reinforced my opinion that this is really one big book that has been split into three, rather than three separate books in a series. They don’t work that well independently. What was great about this instalment is that we learn a lot more about how the historical crime played out and who was involved, but with one key detail left undisclosed. I had it worked out before the reveal, but the revelation around who made the note felt a little convenient and kind of disappointing. The stakes are set high for the timely solving of the historical crime, and the book ends with an ominous sense of immediate danger. But it fizzles a little. I once again found the chopping between time periods a little frustrating. And it felt like not a whole lot happened in this book, but some progress was made. I found myself completely losing interest in the not very romantic subplot. I will read on to see how things play out. I have some pretty clear ideas about how it’s going to go down, so I’m really hoping the author throws in a few plausible surprises.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Camile Souza (This Chamber of Books)

    This took a while to really pick up, but it was entertaining. I really like the characters and that helped with the slower parts. We also got a big part of the mysteries revealed, and obviously the book ended on a cliffhanger like the other one (which is a shame because this time I actually have to wait a full year for the next one D:) RTC

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    This is bullshit. I cannot stand by another cliffhanger ending, and an author who thinks it’s okay to manipulate their readership into buying another book to find out what happens. This whole series screams “CASH GRAB!”, and I’m done. I should have been done after book one (which, of course, also ended on a cliffhanger), but more-so because of Maureen Johnson’s 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 This is bullshit. I cannot stand by another cliffhanger ending, and an author who thinks it’s okay to manipulate their readership into buying another book to find out what happens. This whole series screams “CASH GRAB!”, and I’m done. I should have been done after book one (which, of course, also ended on a cliffhanger), but more-so because of Maureen Johnson’s 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 fuck??? 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 the fact that (view spoiler)[David is his son repulses Stevie. Okay, so, you’re saying the guy you like has a Republican father, and that means you cannot like him anymore?? Puhhh-fucking-lease! I continue to love everyone, even if we disagree on things. (hide spoiler)] . 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 here 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. That’s right— shame on you, Maureen Johnson! 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 damn 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    2.75* This book picks up shortly after the ending of Truly Devious. Stevie's parents have pulled her out of Ellingham because of everything that happened. But then, she makes a deal with the devil: watch out for David and Edward King convinces her parents to send her back. On her arrival, she dives into all of her unanswered questions: Where is Ellie? Who murdered Dottie? Who kidnapped Iris and Alice? She will do whatever it takes to find answers, no matter what is at stake. Did Maureen Johnson re 2.75* This book picks up shortly after the ending of Truly Devious. Stevie's parents have pulled her out of Ellingham because of everything that happened. But then, she makes a deal with the devil: watch out for David and Edward King convinces her parents to send her back. On her arrival, she dives into all of her unanswered questions: Where is Ellie? Who murdered Dottie? Who kidnapped Iris and Alice? She will do whatever it takes to find answers, no matter what is at stake. Did Maureen Johnson really do me like this again? We all left book one on a huge "WTF?!" and no answers to the mystery. In this book, we get some answers, but another "WTF?!" ending with even more questions. We don't find out anything major until literally the last three chapters. This series is leaving me very frustrated and annoyed. A lot of what happened in this book, could have been apart of book one, especially since nothing happens in book one. I feel like Johnson is dragging this on a little too long. The characters and book in general reads a little juvenile for me. The romance between Stevie and David is cringy. Why can't they communicate their feelings for each other effectively? (view spoiler)[They kiss in the tunnel and then never speak about it. But Stevie obsesses over it. Just say how you feel! (hide spoiler)] The murder-mystery suspense has me hooked, and I really want to know what happened. But the characters and structure of this book is giving me blue balls. I will probably read book three just to be done with it and feed my satisfaction. If you didn't like book one, you will not like this book either.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    "You want to solve crimes, Stevie? You can't act like you're smarter than everyone around you and do it on your own. That's how people get hurt." Ahhh another great mystery plot-twisty read *u* I'm so glad I reread Truly Devious before this one because there are PLENTY of characters here and it's easy to get confused. Especially when it comes to characters that are in the "past". This book offers even more character development for Stevie. She was pretty good in the first book, but now I like her "You want to solve crimes, Stevie? You can't act like you're smarter than everyone around you and do it on your own. That's how people get hurt." Ahhh another great mystery plot-twisty read *u* I'm so glad I reread Truly Devious before this one because there are PLENTY of characters here and it's easy to get confused. Especially when it comes to characters that are in the "past". This book offers even more character development for Stevie. She was pretty good in the first book, but now I like her even more - she doesn't do anything on her own, she calls either her friends or responsible adult people. She does her school work, she hangs out with friends but she also investigates. She doesn't go around chasing a boy, instead she tries to make time for everything - including a bit of romance. But seriously, the romance part is wayyy on the sidelines, just as it should be with mystery novels. She is also on full-Holmes/Poirot mode, and I LOVED IT There were plenty of clues, evidence, investigations, mysterious items, interrogations etc. It was a full on crime book. It was fun getting to connect certain points, trying to figure out who is the killer, why did this happen, how did that get here and so on. I especially liked the chapters from the "past" and how the things that happened then, had an influence on the present. How something that seems so insignificant can make a huge difference. Anyways, I kept trying to figure out who did it before it is revealed but I failed XD It was still fun investigating with Stevie because she is brilliant and I like the way she thinks, like a proper detective. Another reason why I love her: "Why mysteries?-he asked. "With mysteries," she said, "with crime, you get all this information - everything matters. The location. The time. The weather. The building. The ground. Every single thing that floats by. (...) You take everything in the world and you figure out what matters. That's what it is. And then you make things right." "Also I want to wear the exam gloves." Same Stevie, Same. When it comes to the riddle - I kind of guessed the answer? I guessed half of it XD I didn't know what it means at first, but everything was explained. I hoped for something more dramatic, I guess, but it was okay. Now we come to the ending...I NEED ANSWERS. That last chapter was a wild ride from start to finish and now idk how I'm gonna wait for the sequel because that cliff-hanger is a MAD ONE ;_; I actually read this book yesterday but I spent the whole day/night coming up with crazy theories XD I wrote some of my burning questions/ideas/theories in the next section in the spoiler tag XD (view spoiler)[. CRAZY THEORIES 101 1. So did Stevie imagine/dream that letter/poem in her room or what??? And what was the point of it? It didn't give any clues and we never find out who left it??? 2. In the last chapter, when Stevie calls Fenton, she replies with "Not now..The kid is there!" and WHAT IF IT'S ALICE?? Or her kid because she would be an old lady by now and she probably wouldn't burn Fenton's house down XD I mean, why would Fenton say "THE kid", she obviously though about a specific kid they would both know about. So it was either Alice/her relative, or Fenton's nephew. But what if these two are the same person? 3. Hunter is somehow related to Alice and Fenton found out about it so he burned the house down. Although...there was another body there that could be his, so maybe he didn't do it, idk but he's suspicious. I think maybe Fenton lied about him being her nephew....Honestly, this one is far fetched but that guy is so suspicious, there HAS to be something wrong about him. Either he found something out or did something bad. 4. David and Ellie are somehow related to Edward and Frankie. Or at least one of them is... e_e Think about it. Frankie was all about explosives and setting fires, and what did Pix warn Ellie about? SETTING FIRES. Edward was a full on weirdo with a poetic side, David is not really poetic, but is weird XD BUT remember that song Edward wrote? "Frankie and Edward bowed to no king" And what is David's father name? EDWARD KING. Obviously, Edward would be too old to be David's father, but maybe he was his grandfather??? 5. And what's that thing about Alice?? Marsh said "I know about Alice too. Is she the biggest secret of all?" and FOR THE LIFE OF ME I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT IS. Is it possible she was adopted? Or maybe one of her parents wasn't her parent? Maybe she was sick? MAYBE SHE DIDN'T EXIST AT ALL. Okay, that one was a bit too far XD (hide spoiler)] Tell me what you think about these ;) What are your theories?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book lost review stars for yet another flipping cliffhanger! Nope. I am done. Was hesitant to start this one because of the last bleeping cliffhanger, but thought I'd be generous. Not falling into that trap again. A series is one thing. A cliffhanger is nothing more than blatant money grabbing from the author. Readers deserve better than that. It can be a phenomenal book and completely lose me because of a disingenuous cliffhanger ending. :/

  24. 4 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    *4.5 stars* Wowowow. This was a fantastic sequel, and I think it improved a lot on the minor pacing issues I had with the first book. There’s a tension throughout THE VANISHING STAIR that made it almost impossible to stop reading. And the ending???? Excuse me while I scream for the next year until the final book comes out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Grace (BURTSBOOKS)

    Even though they've only been in my life for a couple months the truly devious books have quickly turned into my comfort reads. I know they aren't perfect. Some of the characters are extremely one dimensional, there's an insane amount of filler chapters and often these books leave more questions than they give answers. I'm not even particularly attached to the characters that aren't one dimensional. Despite all that, I find listening to the audiobooks makes me so calm. They're the kind of books Even though they've only been in my life for a couple months the truly devious books have quickly turned into my comfort reads. I know they aren't perfect. Some of the characters are extremely one dimensional, there's an insane amount of filler chapters and often these books leave more questions than they give answers. I'm not even particularly attached to the characters that aren't one dimensional. Despite all that, I find listening to the audiobooks makes me so calm. They're the kind of books that keep your attention while your reading them but don't interrupt your thoughts day to day and sometimes that's what you need. ALSO, the small details and foreshadowing throughout is genius. There were details from the very beginning of the first book that ended up being important here and I was astounded. I'm super hype for the next book, let's go!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara (A Gingerly Review)

    I didn't realize I missed the dry yet sarcastic humor of this series until I started this book. The snark was well done and the mystery is one I need more of now.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    I KNOW THIS BOOK JUST CAME OUT THIS MORNING BUT I NEED THE THIRD ONE NOWWWW

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    *Note if you haven't read the first book in the series & don't want to encounter spoilers, stop reading* Stevie Bell loves Ellingham Academy and the mystery that drew her to the school in the first place. But while she was trying to solve it, a classmate of hers died instead. Stevie figured out what happened, but the aftermath made her conservative parents pull her from the school. Stevie misses Ellingham and all its quirks. She also misses the friends she made there--even David, with whom sh *Note if you haven't read the first book in the series & don't want to encounter spoilers, stop reading* Stevie Bell loves Ellingham Academy and the mystery that drew her to the school in the first place. But while she was trying to solve it, a classmate of hers died instead. Stevie figured out what happened, but the aftermath made her conservative parents pull her from the school. Stevie misses Ellingham and all its quirks. She also misses the friends she made there--even David, with whom she shared a kiss--and then learned he was the son of the horrible politician Edward King. So imagine Stevie's surprise when Edward King himself shows up at Stevie's house. He has a deal that's hard to resist: he'll convince Stevie's Edward King-loving parents to send her back to Ellingham, if she agrees to watch over David and get him to behave at school. So Stevie's back, working on the long-unsolved Ellingham mystery and riddles. But the more she uncovers, the deeper trouble she--and her friends--may be getting into. "What do you do when the devil turns up in your living room and offers you everything you want?" Oh I just love Maureen Johnson, and I think this series is becoming my favorite of hers, although it's in stiff competition with the Shades of London books. STAIR picks up shortly after the lovely first book TRULY DEVIOUS, which is wonderful, as that one ended on a dramatic cliffhanger. Oh, but don't worry, this one will leave you gasping for more Stevie and more DETAILS, too. This book was so compulsively readable that I read it in two sittings, on two flights. I ignored everyone around me and frantically flipped the last couple of pages as my plane landed in Charlotte (if I had known I was going to be stuck in Charlotte thanks to a canceled flight, maybe I would have made it last... oh who am I kidding, no I wouldn't have). Johnson is just so good at getting into her characters' heads--I love Stevie. I loved her in the last book, and I loved her here. She's smart, she's relatable, and she's always getting into trouble. There's plenty of exploring, detective work, and yes, tunnels, in this one to keep you more than interested. Stevie's cast of friends is also superb, from the prickly David to the wonderful Janelle, and Nate, the writer who can no longer write. Oh and Larry, Stevie's protective security guard. I love them all, even if there are plenty of times I wanted to shake David in this one. We're also introduced to some new characters here, as Stevie takes on a new research project. (I don't want to spoil anything or ruin your enjoyment of reading about them all yourself.) Stevie is busy unraveling the Ellingham Academy mystery in this one, and I'm happy to say she goes a long way in book #2. What I love about this series is that you get a great underlying mystery (what happened to Ellingham Academy founder Albert Ellingham's long-missing wife and daughter, if you for some unknown reason haven't read the first book), but there are always little side mysteries, plus just the general business of Stevie trying to live her life. She's struggling with being back at Ellingham--dealing with what it means to have struck a deal with Edward King, negotiating her boundaries with David, and much more. Johnson deals with Stevie's anxiety, her intelligence, and just her general no-nonsense approach to life in such realistic ways: I love it all. So, yeah, I can't think of anything I didn't like here, except that the book ended, and now I have to wait *forever* again to find out what happens! I love this series, I love the character of Stevie, and I highly recommend this book (but start at #1, please). It's a funny, mysterious, sweet, and compelling read. 4.5 stars. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram

  29. 5 out of 5

    Htet

    I NEED ANSWERS!!!!! I was going to give this book only 4 stars before my head spins from everything that made up the last one hundred pages. I feel like I am left high and dry in a very very good way. And the next book won't come out until next year so I guess, the torture begins now.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    BELLISSIMO! Devo raggruppare le idee e poi ci sarà la recensione :)

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