Waiting on Wednesday (aka: WoW) is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, spotlighting releases we are waiting for eagerly.
Something is wrong at Ellingham Academy: Its murderous past won’t stay in the past.
Ellingham Academy is an American institution. Students can’t buy admission, they have to earn it: these are the brightest of their generation, the thinkers, inventors, artists, dreamers, and schemers who will change the world. Ellingham is the brainchild of philanthropist and tycoon Edward J. Ellingham, who happened on a remote, idyllic spot outside of Burlington, Vermont in the 1920s, the perfect setting for his “dream school of the future.” For Ellingham, the dream ended a decade later, when his wife and child were kidnapped, then murdered, in what would become the crime of the century. Ellingham pledged everything to find the killer—he ended up giving his life.
It was an empty sacrifice: For years, the killer remained at large. He taunted the police, signing his letters Truly, Devious. Eventually, someone was caught, found guilty, and executed for the heinous crimes… but questions lingered. Why, for example, did Ellingham write these words on the day he died?
Where do you look for someone
who’s never really there?
Always on a staircase
but never on a stair.
Every institution has its ghost stories; every school imagines itself haunted. Ellingham Academy is, officially, beyond such silliness: it is devoted to greatness, and everyone accepted achieves it.
This includes Stevie Bell, who gained her fame by solving a murder when she was thirteen years old. Clever murders don’t happen along very often, and Stevie has been struggling to find her place in the competitive atmosphere of Ellingham. Then she finds out about the decades-old Ellingham riddle: Problem solved. She’ll solve the riddle, name the real killer, and prove herself exceptional. True Ellingham material.
Her investigation into the cold case is interrupted by a fresh one. When one of her classmates, internet superstar Hayes Major, turns up dead, Stevie is the first to question the official explanation. An accident? Really? Everyone else is convinced that Ellingham’s murderous past is just that, which leaves justice up to Stevie
Set in the 1930s “dream school of the future”? YES. I’ve never read anything by Ms. Johnson (correct me if I’m wrong but I believe she’s mostly known as a contemporary author) but this one sounds so cool. Every institution does have its ghost stories, and I am so excited to read about Ellington academy’s haunted past. This really reminded me of a grown up Nancy Drew meets Mean Girls. I LOVE things that have a large historical influence, particularly in mystery, and I haven’t seen any YA books like this one in quite a while! Can’t wait!