Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious 4) by Maureen Johnson-- Summer Camp, Horror, and MUCH Improvement

The Box in the Woods

Now that Stevie has solved one of the most infamous mysteries in America, she's unsure of what her next step is. Fortunately for her, while on her summer vacation from Ellingham Academy, she is contacted by an entrepreneur who recently bought a summer camp. Not just any summer camp, this is Camp Wonder Falls, site of a gruesome quadruple homicide in 1978. An UNSOLVED quadruple homicide....

As fast as you can say Kumbaya, Stevie gathers up her friends (minus David) and heads off to be a fake camp counselor/undercover investigator. Once there, she realizes that there's a lot more secrets and death in this small town than she was expecting-- and some of it is still lurking 40 years later!

OH THANK GOD!! I was so relieved upon finishing this book because I wanted to like it so much-- and I did!!  I had such a love/hate (okay, mostly hate) relationship with the first 3 books in the series, but for some reason I kept hoping I would click with one of them and was bummed when I didn't.  This felt like a second chance, and it was!!

Honestly it was like all the things that bugged me in the original series up and disappeared:

  • Stevie & David weren't terrible. Don't get me wrong, I still didn't love Stevie, but she was way more tolerable. And David!!  He didn't suck!! It was almost like he was a normal person.
  • The virtue signaling was at a minimum.
  • THERE WAS A PAYOFF-- we got to know what happened!!!  I was dreading that this was going to be another 400 page book that just ends with nothing, but every thread was tied up!!

Stevie is still a very unrelatable robot person to me- which is fine.  I don't think I'll ever get why she becomes so surprised about hormones and the feelings she gets around David. It’s almost like she’s a complete narcissist and is SHOCKED that she is capable of feeling attracted or care when she likes a boy. At the end of the day, I can get beyond the fact I don't mesh with her because I enjoyed the hell out of the mystery.

The ending was definitely far-fetched, but at least it was something I could've never saw coming. I am also willing to suspend disbelief when something hooks me as thoroughly as this mystery did.

My Fave Parts: Where this book takes place is so good! I love a camp-murder setting. I loved the Ellingham setting too, but summer camp and woods just go with horror slasher stuff. I also LOVED that there were flashbacks to the camp in the 70's. It was cool to read about that time period and I liked getting to know the victims and some of the other characters firsthand.

I would read more books from this series if they are all like this one. And I’m kind of hoping there are more books... which I definitely wasn’t expecting.

OVERALL: Color me shocked, but I kinda loved this book. It was intricate, suspenseful, had an actual ending (yes, I'm still salty about book 1), and had the perfect setting. I recommend this- and I even think you can get away with reading this without reading the original series.

Date Published: 6/15/2021
How I got this book: Thanks to Megan Beatie Communications / HarperCollins for providing me with a finished copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/ Harper

Reviews of the other books in this series:

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Nate Fisher
Book: Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher
  • I really want Nate to meet the author of the Orman Chronicles because they're so much alike.


  1. MICHELLE!!! How you doing? I liked this one a LOT. I am a fan of Stevie's though, so I was excited to be back in her world. I agree that the setting was fabulous, and Johnson redeemed herself with me for that terrible David tease-plot line in the last book. (still mad)

  2. Glad the series was redeemed for you. That's the best feeling!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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