Several days ago, I began reading Devilish by Maureen Johnson. This is one of the many books that has been on my “to-read” pile for quite some time, so I thought I’d give it a try, thinking that it would be a perfect read for spooky Halloween times. Luckily, I was right. I had planned to finish this book on Halloween, but I admit that I had other things to do, and I didn’t finish Devilish until yesterday. (This year was my niece’s first Halloween. She was dressed as Wonder Woman, so I spent most of Halloween taking pictures and much of the next day looking at said pictures. She was adorable.) So anyway, I finally finished reading Devilish last night, and it was everything I’ve come to expect from Maureen Johnson. This book was suspenseful, horrifying at times, hilarious throughout, and the main character was brilliant and fluent in sarcasm. Good times.
Jane Jarvis may be the smartest girl at her Catholic school, but that doesn’t make her senior year any easier. She and Allison, her best friend, are outcasts at best, and Jane’s main goal is to get through this year and make it to college. Allison, though, still nurtures a small hope that she can somehow achieve the popularity that has always eluded her. And, all of a sudden, it happens. One day, Allison shows up to school with a flattering new haircut, new clothes, confidence she never had, and she seems to know all the answers in class. Jane knows something weird is going on, especially when she discovers that Allison, her best (only) friend in the entire world, is now going out with Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Elton (a boy who Jane is still not over). Who is this horribly different person that her supposed best friend has become? And what brought on this sudden change?
Jane soon learns that nefarious forces are at work, and Allison has sold her soul to a truly heinous, evil being (disguised as a teenage girl) in exchange for popularity and confidence. Being the good friend that she is, Jane, of course, jumps right into the middle of this mess and gets herself into so much trouble that it will take some divine intervention to get her out of it. Jane will have some unexpected help, but will she be smart enough to accept the assistance being offered? And will Jane be able to save Allison and herself before both of their souls are consumed by the evil plaguing their town? Read Devilish by Maureen Johnson to learn how the quests to belong, get what you want, or gain power can sometimes lead to a deal with the devil. Is there a way out of such a bargain? You’ll just have to see…
If you’re looking for a book that is in turns funny, suspenseful, and scary (especially if you were raised in a religion–like I was–that preached the realness and dangers of the devil), I think Devilish might just be the book for you. The book, while humorous, also highlighted the darkness that exists in the world. Evil exists. I don’t think anyone can question that. But what is the root of evil? And is there any way to stop it or reverse its effects? I’m afraid I don’t have the answers to those questions. (I’m not sure that anyone does.)
Had to get serious there for a moment. It’s the lapsed Southern Baptist in me.
Anyhoo, if you decide to read Devilish and like it, you should give Maureen Johnson’s other books a try, especially The Name of the Star. I loved that book so hard and can’t wait for the sequel. I also urge you to visit Ms. Johnson’s website (http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/index1.html) and follow her on Twitter @maureenjohnson. I’ve been following her for about a year, and her tweets make me laugh to the point of crying sometimes. This woman is seriously funny.