Book Review: "Devilish" by Maureen Johnson

By Angela Maria Hart

Devilish is 263 pages, but the book’s pages are barely noticeable. Johnson has a way of making the reader feel the main character’s emotions and understand the situations. Her writing is the embodiment of showing versus telling for writers. Johnson has wonderful descriptions that the reader can picture clearly in their mind.

What I found particularly entertaining about this book was the main character, Jane. She is confronted with a devil of sorts (or at least a demon working her way up the employment ranks of hell), whom she doesn’t believe in. There is a touch of dramatic irony involved because at this particular point in time the reader understands the situation, while Jane does not. This offers some cringeworthy moments causing one to wonder “What is going to happen next?” With a few little twists and turns throughout the novel, I was entertained the entire way through.

One of the smaller aspects of the book is the relationship between the main character, Jane, and her younger sister, Joan. Jane was named after Jane Grey, while Joan was named after Joan of Arc. While Jane is supposedly the brains of the family, Joan is the beauty. Being a stereotypical beauty, she is rather dimwitted. Her character has some of the funniest lines throughout the entire story. Some of her dialogue made me pause, stop, and literally laugh out loud. While she is a minor character, I couldn’t help but wait for her to pop up again throughout the novel. This was a really fun read. I finished it in one sitting!

SPOILER ALERT – DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU ARE GOING TO READ DEVILISH!

I loved the ending. Just when I thought her friend, Allison, betrayed her (and I was actively loathing her existence) she helped save the day. At the end I was practically on the edge of my seat yelling, “Go Allison!” When a reader is rooting for characters other than the protagonist, the writer’s talent is evident – all of her creations were multidimensional and engrossing. Johnson deserves a gold star for her work.