The Hand on The Wall (2020) *Spoiler Free* Review // Pretty Good, But Could’ve Been Better


The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)

TITLE: The Hand on Teh Wall

AUTHOR: Maureen Johnson

SERIES? Book 3/3 “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, child birth

PUBLICATION DATE: January 21st, 2020


actual rating: 3.75/5

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. We love him.
►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
►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

The Vanishing Stair | ✮✮✮☆☆ | review


“Every contact leaves a trace.”


Stevie: *having a panic attack* “time to solve a mystery”

Stevie gives off a more balanced Vema vibe. Like, I’ve always thought Velma was one step away from a full-blown anxiety attack, but Stevie really did the thing properly.

I think I managed to read the first and second book in a day (each) and I would’ve been able to do that with the third book too but, I had to go to a concert (- 1 – not by choice – 2 – it was a Cold Chisel concert ew – & 3 – I ended up reading Harry Potter the whole time anyway, so joke’s on me). And, I think that says a lot about these books, I might have my problems with them but at the end of the day, they’re really easy to read and I do enjoy them for the most part. The trilogy as a whole is incredibly easy to binge, so if you’re going to read them you may as well read them back to back!

One thing I really loved about this trilogy as a whole is the setting! I don’t read too many books set in school or boarding school so it took me a while to notice, but this book really feels like it’s set in a boarding school. Like, yeah, Stevie’s solving a mystery but she’s also got projects due and classes to go to. and people notice when she misses them, and her teachers actually talk to her. Like, it’s not just mentioned a few times for the scenery, it’s actually a part of the story and I really appreciate that.


  • I sort of forgot who some of the characters in the flashbacks were as I was reading, tbh. Which is crazy since I read this entire trilogy in under a week, basically back to back.
  • I think the best way to read this trilogy is to binge it or read the books *really* close together. I think, with most series you should read the books close together but especially with this trilogy because it can be really easy to forget details and even character names because there is a really large cast of characters!


Can I be honest? I don’t care about David. There I said it.

Can I say something possibly controversial? I don’t care about David’s storyline and/or the romance because he’s dull and attention-seeking. I would’ve preferred if the page time was used building Stevie’s friendship with Nate or Hunter. Either way, I am 100% team friendship over team romantic relationship. (also, I feel like there’s no substance to the David fascination, like, she likes how he looks and that’s it??? which is fine I guess, I just personally don’t understand that thinking, myself.)

“Stevie, how many stories -“
“It’s all one story,” Stevie said, and the confidence in her voice surprised her. “It was about money then, and it’s about money now.”


  • I’m slightly concerned that once Stevie solves this mystery she’s gonna like, tank and deflate since so much of her life has been taken up by this mystery. I mean, she’s been obsessing over it for years. Either way, she needs therapy. Lots of therapy,
  • The audiobook is good. It’s hard to go back and relisten to stuff so it really feels like you’re going through the mystery with the characters.
  • *Spoilers* [Highlight to read] Alice is George’s daughter, biologically and he let her be kidnapped lol what a clusterfuck
  • If there are readers out there who actually like David I would be really interested to know why because I just don’t get it. The romance (and David, to an extent) was so underdeveloped, spotty and irrelevant and I honestly think it should’ve been better developed or not there at all.
  • * Slight Spoiler, but not really* This might be just me or because there hasn’t been enough mystery in this series, but I loved the big you’re the killer speech at the end. I know not everyone did but I was craving more mystery!!



Weirdly I don’t have all that much to say about this book, which is odd because it’s a finale. But, I will say that this is one of the best finales I’ve read in a while, in that it felt like the other books in the series and wasn’t awful in any particular way. Basically, this was a really interesting mystery with a really good main character. I wish there was more actual mystery and less badly written romance, but aside from that, this is a good trilogy IF you binge read it and treat it as one large story, and not as an actual trilogy.

*Spoilers* Quick Summary of the mystery if you forgot what happened *Spoilers* [Highlight text to read]

Recap: So, George Marsh had them kidnapped for ransom $ because he had gambling debts but it fell apart because others didn’t think it was enough $$ so then it really fell apart. Did we ever find out how Hayz died? I have completely forgotten. (Seems to be more of a focus on Alice) – Marsh killed Dottie.


6 thoughts on “The Hand on The Wall (2020) *Spoiler Free* Review // Pretty Good, But Could’ve Been Better

  1. This is definitely a series to binge! I think I had 2 months in between book 2 and 3, and I forgot so much..
    Also totally agree, don’t really like David..
    Great review!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree I think if I’d taken time off between books I would’ve been confused and possibly DNF’d! I think this is one f those series where you need to keep the momentum going and binge it!

      Ugh, David… Yeah, I’m not a fan!

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yess, I completely agree!! I didn’t really get what the whole thing with David was about, and I wish there would’ve been more mystery. I think that the fact that all three books focused on one mystery kind of took away from its potential. And the big reveal was kind of meh.

    I still really enjoyed the first two books of the series and would recommend it to others but I feel like the finale could have been a lot stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, David! Some people really love him and enjoyed the romance, but I just don’t get it either!! I agree I wish there had been more of a mystery to this “mystery” series! I agree with that too, I think 1 massive mystery hindered the series a bit, or we needed smaller fulfilling mysteries along the way, but I don’t think we really got that either.

      I agree I would definitely recommend this to others, I just think it could’ve been a lot better!


  3. Now that you’ve said it I think David might be the thing that is pulling these books back from a 4.5-5 star read for me. There really is just something dull about him. Sucks that the books didn’t blow you away but I’m glad they didn’t suck? Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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