Friday, June 19, 2009

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Jane and Allison have always been too quirky to be popular at their Catholic school, but that's never been a big deal. However, after a hugely embarrassing disaster Allison comes to school with new clothes, new hair, and a new policy of refusing to speak to Jane. At first Jane doesn't know what's going on, but then a freshman boy named Owen reveals it might be something sinister... Like a deal with with the devil.

Jane, our first-person narrator, is the element that's going to make or break this story for you, and for me she definitely made it. She's funny and witty without being a "let's make this character hip and sharp-witted" character. She comes across as a real person I'd like to hang out with, not a "character." And the very best thing is that she does not do wangst. Things happen. They suck. She acts. No crap.

The plot has an interesting snowballing quality to it. It starts slow, and a lot of it is fluff (the writer usually writes straight YA chick-lit), but things accumulate until you're on the edge of your seat and chewing your hair by then end. And let me just say: The ending delivers. Seriously delivers.

I really enjoyed figuring out the twists of the plot and getting to know these characters. It's a little bit of a beach read, but I highly recommend it as an enjoyable read and as a YA book dealing with high school in a believable and interesting way. The only note I have is that, not having a background in Catholicism, I didn't have a substantial frame of reference for the Catholic-school parts of school. It wasn't hard to follow, I just wondered which things would really happen in a Catholic school and which wouldn't.

A similar book (with more plot and POW to it) would be the excellent Sucks to Be Me, reviewed here. For more of Maureen Johnson's style without the paranormal check out her other books. 13 Little Blue Envelopes seems to be her most popular.

Buy Devilish


  1. I love the book devilish. I was at my local library scanning the shelves for an interesting title and came across devilish. It is a fantastic book! I really have to buy it. Love your reviews :)


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