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Devilish by Maureen Johnson

y Maureen Johnson

Publishing Information: Razorbill: New York, 2006
ISBN: 9781595140609 / 978195141323 (PB)
: 263 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

Jane Jarvis, a senior at a Catholic girls’ school in Providence, tries to save her best friend by making a pact with a demon in the form of a cupcake-eating, very friendly teenage girl.

Book Talk:
It is senior year and Jane just has to make it through one more year at her girls' Catholic high school. Unfortunately, her formerly mousy best friend Allison has been transformed from a loveable spaz into a perfectly-put-together, ex-boyfriend-stealing fashion plate. What does all of this have to do with a red velvet cupcake, a beautiful transfer student, a nun who walks in circles, a freshman stalker from the boys' school, and the devil? It's up to Jane to figure out the riddle, salvage her friendship with Allison and maybe save some souls in the process.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Best Friends
Catholic Schools
High Schools
Providence (R.I.)

Awards & Reviews:
Andre Norton Award Honor Book, 2006
Texas Tayshas Reading List, 2008
New Jersey's Garden State Teen Book Award Nominees, 2009
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, 2007
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2007
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (Magic in the Real World), 2008

Booklist, October 15, 2006, p. 40
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 1, 2006
Horn Book, November 1, 2006 (Starred Review)
Kirkus Review, July 15, 2006,
Publishers Weekly, September 18, 2006, p. 56
School Library Journal, October 1, 2006, p. 158
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, August 1, 2006

Discussion Questions:

    1. Have you ever been in a situation as embarrassing as Allison? How did you deal with it?
    2. Has there ever been a situation when you might consider selling your soul? What were Allison's alternatives to selling her soul? What would you have done in her position?
    3. There is a belief that the devil finds you, not the other way around. Who was the devil looking for: Allison, Jane or as many high school souls as possible? Why?
    4. Why would the devil choose to attend a Catholic high school?
    5. "Strange how there's a dark underbelly to so many beautiful things." Mr. Fields tells Jane that slavery paid for many of the beautiful houses in Providence. What are some other examples?
    6. Jane doesn't believe that Allison has sold her soul, but she does want to help Allison out of her relationship with Lanalee. Why does Jane want to help a friend who betrays her friendship?
    7. Would you continue to fight for a friend who betrayed you? Why or why not?

Related Websites:
Author's website:
Faust Legends:

The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven, 2006
The Book of Dead Days
by Marcus Sedgwick. 2004 (2007 RITBA Nominee)
The Demon Queen
by Richard Lewis, 2008
The Devil and Daniel Webster
by Stephen Vincent Benet, 1937
The Devil and Tom Walker
by Washington Irving, 1824
The Hollow
by Christopher Golden, 2006
On the Devil's Court
by Carl Deuker, 1988
The Phantom of the Opera
by Gaston Leroux, 1909-1910
Prom Dates from Hell
by Rosemary Clement-Moore, 2007
Sign of the Qin
by L.G. Bass, 2004
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
by Christopher Marlowe, 1604

Other Books by the Author:
The Key to the Golden Firebird
, 2004
13 Little Blue Envelopes, 2005
The Bermudez Triangle, 2006
Girl at Sea, 2007
Suite Scarlett, 2008
Let it Snow, 2008

About the Author:
Maureen Johnson was born in Pennsylvania where she did, indeed, attend an all-girls Catholic school. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a writing degree and lives in New York City where she puts that degree to good use writing novels and scripts for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince handheld videogames. For a much lengthier bio, please visit the author’s website at  

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair