The Vanishing Stair (2019) *Spoiler Free* Review // This Series Should’ve Been A Duology!!


The Vanishing Stair

TITLE: The Vanishing Stair

AUTHOR: Maureen Johnson

SERIES? Book 2/3 “Truly Devious” Trilogy

GENRE/ AGE RANGE: Young Adult, Mystery

TRIGGER WARNINGS: social anxiety, anxiety, panic attacks, murder, death, enclosed spaces (tunnels, small rooms etc.), alcoholism, dissection, smoking,

PUBLICATION DATE: January 22nd, 2019


actual rating: 3.5/5

Character Guide ⇩

►Stevie Bell → Main character, has anxiety
►’Ellie’ Element Walker → on the run, write Hays’ zombie show, dead
►David → 17/18
►’Nate’ Nathaniel → “Nate had the same expression Stevie had come to love, vaguely annoyed by everything except maybe Stevie and Janel, but for sure everything else.” Prefers books to people, but has a soft spot for his friends.
►Janel → kind, builds stuff, smart, dating Hi, very kind, drinks water bc of the high altitude
►Vi → Janel’s gf who also goes to the school and gets a mention every now and then but I feel like we’ve never actually met her??? Wait, what she actually spoke? They/them (I think)
►Kaz → cares any composting toilets
►Germain → journalist
Mudge → good at anatomy, goth dude, liked disneyland, wears coloured contacts
►Dr Fenton → wrote book, Hunter’s aunt
►Hunter Fenton → walks with a crutch, has had juvenile rumatoid arthritis since 15
►Edward King → Trump kind of guy
►Albert Ellingham → dude who’s family went missing
►Francis & Eddie → Bonnie and Clyde enthusiasts
►Eddie Davenport → blonde, Apollo building, rich snob
►’Dottie’ Delores Epstein → reads Sherlock Holmes, multi-lingual, killed
George Marsh → Albert’s friend, police


Truly Devious | ✮✮✮☆☆ | review 


 “Always remember the game.”


Honestly, this was good, but I preferred the first book. I’m finding that writing my reviews for each book in the trilogy is giving me a lot of perspectives. I enjoyed the books a lot when I was reading them, enough to want to reread the trilogy in the future. But, when I was writing my notes and now when I’m trying to write my reviews I’m finding that I don’t have much of anything truly positive to say about the series, other than that I like the anxiety rep, but everyone knows that by now anyway.

So, here’s my one positive note before I get onto my “eh” thoughts:

  • I appreciate the respect between Larry and Stevie – I really enjoy respectful relationships between adults and teens/kids


“What do you do when the devil turns up in your living room and offers you everything you want?”


  • I just??? Don’t care at all about the romance?? Like, it’s kind of annoying and just distracts from the mystery.
  • It took me a minute to realise but these chapters are actually pretty long. I guess it doesn’t matter as much when I’m engrossed in the story but the rest if the time it’s pretty noticeable.

Honestly, there’s more mystery in this book than in book 1 but mostly it just feels like “other” filler. I know I said this in my review of book 1 but, for a ‘mystery’ trilogy there’s really not that much mystery going on and I don’t know how I feel about that. Or maybe I do?? Look, I just wanted more mystery than I got. Also, I don’t think I like how Maureen Johnson writes romance.

I think I said this before in my review of Truly Devious, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but this really feels like it should have been a duology, but because it’s YA the publisher made it a trilogy. I don’t know why that a YA fixed trend but, I hate it. This series would’ve been a fantastic, keep you on your toes mystery with intersecting timelines and great character relationships and quality character depth, but instead we got a drawn-out trilogy that lags dramatically in the middle, with an unbelievable, erratic and irrelevant love story that I’m sorry, was NOT convincing in the least. You can’t just throw two teenagers together, yell “KISS” and expect me to believe they even like each other, let alone want to be in a romantic relationship with each other. Completely ridiculous.

“So much of anxiety was anxiety about having anxiety.”

  • “pumpkins were the watermelons of Fall” 😂
  • I was strangely obsessed with seeing a moose at the end of this book!
  • Literally where even is Vermont?? There’s maple syrup?
  • I’m pretty sure I also had this in my notes for Truly Devious but, Nate is a GOOD friend!
  • I love Stevie but I honestly think Nate might be my favourite character. He’s like slightly depressing comic relief with social anxiety.
  • ngl Larry reminds me a lot of Mr Bubbles from Lilo and Stitch


Overall, this was good but not as good as the first book. This should’ve been a duology but YA is stuck in a mould it really should get out of & lastly, the romance was irritating and definitely not for me!




3 thoughts on “The Vanishing Stair (2019) *Spoiler Free* Review // This Series Should’ve Been A Duology!!

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