Book Review — Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson

I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Netgalley and Katherine Tegen Books. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.

  • Genre: young adult, mystery
  • Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Publish date: Coming out December 27, 2022
  • Number of pages: 464 pages
  • Author’s website: https://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/
  • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

Stevie Bell solved the case of Truly Devious, and now she’s taking her detecting skills abroad when she becomes embroiled in a mystery from 1990s England. Another pulse-pounding and laugh-out-loud stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

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.

Via Bookshop.org

Rating: 4/5

In my opinion, this series just keeps getting better and better! The crew is back to solve another mystery, but this time in London! Fans of the OG trilogy may be disappointed that this one doesn’t take place at the elusive and grand Ellingham Academy, but I thought it was refreshing to get a change of pace.

The novel starts off in an area that I think many YA readers are either going through themselves or went through when they were young adults — the feeling of anticipation of what’s to come as you begin a new chapter in your life. Stevie is in the midst of her senior year at Ellingham and doesn’t know which direction to go: where to go to college, should she even go to college, or go in a completely different direction — maybe with her crime-solving? It’s a daunting time when you are on the precipice of adulthood.

In part to procrastinate her college admissions essays and to see her boyfriend, David, who is currently going to school in London, Stevie devises a plan to do a quick study abroad trip with her friends. Here they meet David’s friend, Izzy, who has a family connection to a murder from many years ago involving nine friends.

I think what gripped me most about this book compared to the others in this series was the background story of the nine friends or as the title implies – liars. I thought they were such an interesting group of people and it was both a great plot device to switch between the past with these characters and the current time with Stevie and her friends. The juxtaposition of both friend dynamics was so well done.

The ending is satisfying in some ways and devastating in others. The best part is that it’s set up for there to be more in the series!

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

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