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The Box in the Woods
Cover of The Box in the Woods
The Box in the Woods
Truly Devious Series, Book 4
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After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling...
After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling...
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Description-

  • After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

    Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she's back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

    But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

    Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

    But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

    * Cosmopolitan Best YA Books of 2021 * People Magazine Best Books of Summer 2021*

About the Author-

  • Maureen Johnson is the bestselling author of several novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, the Truly Devious series, the Suite Scarlett series, and the Shades of London series. She has also written collaborative works such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle and The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. Maureen lives in New York and online on Twitter @maureenjohnson or at www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com.

Reviews-

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2021
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Stevie Bell did the impossible when she solved the decades-old Ellingham mystery at her boarding school last year. Now home for the summer, Stevie finds herself adrift after having accomplished her lifelong goal. But the Ellingham murders aren't the only cold case out there. When Stevie is contacted by the owner of a summer camp that was the site of a gruesome--and unsolved--quadruple murder of four teenagers in the seventies, she jumps at the chance to get back in the game. With her friends in tow, Stevie arrives at Camp Sunny Pines to help investigate the murders, of which there is little evidence due to notorious police mishandling, and help an overeager camp director craft a podcast. But though Stevie remains as savvy as ever, there are many complications in her path: unlike the Ellingham murders, this case is recent enough that family members of the victims remain, and Stevie, always more comfortable with data than with people, is faced for the first time with the more complex truths of her work. While fans of Johnson's Truly Devious trilogy (and there are many) will undoubtedly be eager for this spinoff, Stevie's summertime exploit both stands alone and adds compelling layers to the established characters--an impressive feat.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Johnson builds on the success of her NYT-bestselling Truly Devious series with this standalone spinoff that blends mystery and horror conventions in a summer-camp setting--perfectly timed for summertime campfires.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 10, 2021
    Sardonic sleuth Stevie Bell returns in this engaging stand-alone sleepaway camp thriller, a follow-up to Johnson’s Truly Devious trilogy. Working at a grocery store deli after solving the famous Ellingham Academy case, Stevie quickly agrees to go undercover when asked to crack the 1978 Box in the Woods Murders, a cold case involving four camp counselors at Camp Sunny Pines in Massachusetts. Carson Buchwald, an entrepreneurial “tech bro,” has bought the camp in order to create a docuseries about the ordeal, and he enlists Stevie to find out who stabbed the four teens—a valedictorian, a “rotten” troublemaker, a pot dealer, and a stoner music-lover—and stuffed three of them into a hunting blind. Johnson’s kinetic descriptions (“a punch of soft-boiled anger”) join towering cliffhangers as chapters switch between 1978 and the present day, and Stevie’s search turns deadly. Johnson includes a winning crew of returning characters (a mostly white cast) in Stevie’s friend group, including savvy engineer Janelle, who’s Black, and author Nate. Though a late-breaking contrivance doesn’t quite hold up, the friend group sustains entertaining rapport as Stevie navigates personal and public histories. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2021

    Gr 9 Up-After solving the Ellingham mystery, Stevie Bell is looking at a long summer at home with her parents, working at the local grocery store. But then she gets an interesting invitation from Carson Buchwald, the new owner of Camp Wonder Falls. The camp was the site of a notorious unsolved mass murder in 1978: Four teenage counselors were killed in the woods, and three of their bodies were found in a box with "Surprise" written inside the lid. Carson is making a podcast about the deaths and wants Stevie to help him solve the case. It beats slicing cheese at the deli counter, and she can bring her friends Janelle and Nate along, so she jumps at the chance. But she's only just begun looking around when the word "Surprise" appears on the wall above her bed while she and Janelle are sleeping. Someone wants to scare her off, but who? There are still plenty of people in town who were there in 1978, but Stevie can't shake the feeling that there's something off about Carson. Stevie and Nate are white, and Janelle is Black. VERDICT It's always a pleasure to watch smart, resourceful Stevie piece together a puzzle. Mystery fans will relish this standalone novel in the "Truly Devious" universe.-Stephanie Klose, Library Journal

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2021
    Amateur boarding school detective Stevie Bell is back with a new cold case to crack in a companion novel to the Truly Devious trilogy. After solving one of the greatest murder mysteries of the 20th century, Stevie is at a bit of a loss while back home working at a deli counter during summer break. When the new owner of Camp Wonder Falls--the site of the gruesome (and unsolved) Box in the Woods murders back in the '70s--invites her over to work on the case for his upcoming documentary and podcast, Stevie immediately says yes. It's especially appealing since she gets to invite her closest friends, Nate and Janelle, as well as her boyfriend, David, to tag along. When a new murder takes place just as Stevie starts asking questions around town, the gang find themselves in danger once more. Johnson's hallmark charming humor and lovable characters provide a robust foundation for another cracking mystery, this time ingeniously working with summer-camp and locked-room-mystery tropes. A few snippets relating back to the events in 1978 and Stevie's empathy for the grieving friends and relatives of the dead, who still yearn for answers, provide a strong emotional grounding for the case. Apart from Janelle, who is Black (and queer), most characters are White. Stevie's relationship with her lifelong anxiety is particularly well portrayed. A fantastic stand-alone mystery companion revisits a much-loved sleuth. (author's note) (Mystery. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "Johnson's hallmark charming humor and lovable characters provide a robust foundation for another cracking mystery, this time ingeniously working with summer camp and locked room mystery tropes. Stevie's relationship with her lifelong anxiety is particularly well portrayed. A fantastic stand-alone mystery companion revisits a much-loved sleuth." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "While fans of Johnson's Truly Devious trilogy (and there are many) will undoubtedly be eager for this spinoff, Stevie's summertime exploit both stands alone and adds compelling layers to the established characters—an impressive feat. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Johnson builds on the success of her NYT-bestselling Truly Devious series with this standalone spinoff that blends mystery and horror conventions in a summer-camp setting—perfectly timed for summertime campfires." — Booklist (starred review)

    "Johnson gleefully takes a stab at the slasher movie trope by sending her teen detective on a cold case at a summer camp. This satisfying standalone mystery will delight fans of teen horror flicks and true-crime documentaries, as well as those who prefer their mysteries wrapped up after one volume. Here's hoping this highly entertaining volume isn't the last we hear from Stevie Bell." — Horn Book Magazine

    "The Box in the Woods is a gripping and complex mystery bolstered by its commentary on the popular fascination with true crime—and its empathetic reminder to consider the perspectives of those whom such crimes leave behind." — BookPage

    "Sardonic sleuth Stevie Bell returns in this engaging stand-alone sleepaway camp thriller, a follow-up to Johnson's Truly Devious trilogy. Johnson's kinetic descriptions join towering cliffhangers as chapters switch between 1978 and the present day, and Stevie's search turns deadly. Johnson includes a winning crew of returning characters . . . the friend group sustains entertaining rapport as Stevie navigates personal and public histories." — Publishers Weekly

    "It's always a pleasure to watch smart, resourceful Stevie piece together a puzzle. Mystery fans will relish this standalone novel in the 'Truly Devious' ­universe."
    School Library Journal

    "The Box in the Woods is an utterly addictive read that adds a wonderful new dimension to the world of Truly Devious and yet another fiendish twist in Stevie's story." — The Nerd Daily

    "The Box in the Woods is an excellent, cleverly braided, no punches pulled story leavened with humor. It's worth reading for the great rapport between the fully-fleshed characters of Stevie, queer black crafts-mad Janelle, and the sardonic uber-nerd Nate alone. A great summer read!" — AuthorLink

    "If the beginning of the storyline reads like a Scooby Doo script it's done in honest homage, and is just as much fun, if admittedly darker and more complex than anything Shaggy and team would have tackled. That there's also a deep emotional current running through the book as Bell's finely developed sense of empathy for the friends of the dead is revealed sets the story apart. A challenging and satisfying mystery, this is one you'll be shaking the sand out of come September." — Mountain Times

    Praise for TRULY DEVIOUS: "Be still, my Agatha-Christie-loving beating heart." — Bustle

    "Jumping between past and present, Johnson's novel is deliciously atmospheric, with a sprawling cast of complex suspects/potential victims, surprising twists, and a dash of...

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Truly Devious Series, Book 4
Maureen Johnson
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