Mini-Reviews: The Hand on the Wall, More Than Maybe, and Sawkill Girls

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Source: Borrowed

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years. 

I don’t even know what I can say about the third book in a series about a murder mystery that’s not some kind of spoiler for something. But what I will say is that I felt this book was a satisfying conclusion to both the mystery of what happened years ago and the recent deaths that have surrounded Stevie. The great reveal might not have been shocking, but it was realistic, and I’d rather have a realistic ending that makes sense than have something nonsensical happen that just makes me roll my eyes.

And, as always, the anxiety rep was great:

Anxiety does not ask your permission. Anxiety does not come when expected. It’s very rude. It barges in at the strangest moments, stopping all activity, focusing everything on itself. It sucks the air out of your lungs and scrambles the world.

I’d definitely recommend this series.


More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Source: ARC via publisher

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her? 

I was going to write a nice, long review of this one, but I think sometimes short and sweet is better. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book as part of my participation in the blog tour and I loved it just as much as You’d Be Mine.

I think my favorite thing about Hahn’s books is the way she can just casually insert a ton of music references, but it never feels over-the-top. Vada and Luke dropped a lot of song titles in this book and I loved every minute of it. I was particularly happy to see a bunch of my favorites make an appearance!

A brief selection of some of my favorite songs and bands mentioned in this book:

In short: I loved Vada and her blog, I loved Luke and his podcast, I loved Phil and his club, and I loved this book. I can’t wait for Never Saw You Coming.


Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

You may have seen me talk before about how Claire Legrand was my librarian up until I moved to Tennessee a few months ago. She’s super nice and approachable and I really wanted to love her books, but Furyborn just did not do it for me. I took a long break and then decided to jump back in with Sawkill Girls.

This was a completely different reading experience! Sawkill Girls is a little bit weird, a little bit mysterious, a little bit spooky, and filled with a diverse, well-written cast of characters. It’s about the mysterious death of girl after girl after girl. It’s about about girls helping each other and calling out bad behavior.

My only real complaints about this book are that the story got a bit confusing at times (though it’s possible that I only feel that way because I listened to the audio at work and get interrupted pretty frequently) and the pacing seemed a little off toward the end. Still, this book was much better than I’d expected and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for some murder and empowerment.

Content warnings for:• death/murder
• loss of family members
• blood/gore
• abuse (physical and verbal)
• death of an animal
• misogyny
• acephobia (immediately challenged)
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Have you read any of these books? Have you read any good YA books recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: The Hand on the Wall, More Than Maybe, and Sawkill Girls

  1. Muzmuz M says:

    i had loved the “truly devious” trilogy and that ending was sooooo satisfying… as for “Saw killer girls” i had it on my TBR for god knows how long.. but am delight to add “more than maybe” to my said tbr XD

    Like

  2. Susan says:

    Sawkill girls has been on my radar since I fell in love with Wilder Girls. A lot of people have said if you like one you will like the other!

    That is so cool she was your librarian!

    Liked by 1 person

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