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YA Review: Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson

Title: Nine Liars

Author: Maureen Johnson
Year published: 2022
Category: YA fiction (mystery)
Pages: 464 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (VT) and United Kingdom

SummarySenior 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.

Review: I do not watch BookToks much. But I did see this novel recommended on it and then when I saw it at the airport on my way to Phoenix, Arizona, I bought it spur of the moment. I didn't think about the fact that it is book 5 in the Truly Devious series. Ugh. Actually though, it didn't seem to matter that I hadn't read the first 4 books.

This is a quick read even though it's well over 400 pages, partly because it's YA and partly because it just flows quickly. Like any good mystery, I wanted to know who done it, how they did it, and why. It is totally ridiculous that some high school student is the one who figures it all out? Yes. Do I care? Not so much.

The mystery is well done and that fact that there are nine friends means there are many possibilities for a murderer. And, adding in the visiting Americans means there is a good size cast with lots of moving parts and clues that can be dropped.

The thing that I liked best about this novel is that Johnson did a fantastic job of the novel's place: London. Her descriptions are spot on for travel, visuals, smells, feelings, language, and more. As someone who knows London well, I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Popsugar--Book Tok recommendation

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