Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Devilish

Go To

This was my final move in the game, this graceless thud to the floor. There was only one question left in my mind... Had I played it right?

Devilish is a 2006 young adult novel by American author Maureen Johnson (no, not THAT Maureen Johnson). It tells the story of Jane Jarvis and her best friend Allison Concord, high school seniors in Rhode Island who find things becoming complicated when Ally admits she unwittingly made a Deal with the Devil. It gets harder for Jane to disbelieve this insane story as the world goes insane around her, and before she knows it, she's in a decisive battle for eternal souls.

No relation to the Sega Genesis game Bad Omen, released in the USA with the name Devilish.

Provides Examples Of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Jane and Ally.
  • Alliterative Name: Jane and Joan Jarvis.
  • Alpha Bitch: The A3, who all seem to share equal rank.
  • Analogy Backfire: Jane was named after Lady Jane Grey, Joan after Saint Joan of Arc. "Both great women of history—both met very bad ends. I don't know what my parents were trying to tell us with that one."
  • Back from the Dead: Owen is dead, but he seems to be okay otherwise.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lanalee.
  • Batman Gambit: Lanalee's chosen tactic; she wanted Jane, and so went after Jane's best friend to manipulate her. Also ends up being how Jane defeats her.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Jane, after Lanalee stabs her.
  • Brainless Beauty: Joan, full stop. One of Jane's hobbies seems to be convincing Joan outrageous things are true just to see what she'll believe, such as that Alaska used to be called Frigidaire and that the earth has a second moon we can never see because it's made of glass—and Jane's usually successful.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Seriously. She literally has cards.
  • Cats Are Mean: Actually, they're good guys, but try convincing Crick of that.
  • Caught in the Rain: Jane meets Owen for the first time when they take shelter on a porch after being caught in a demonic hailstorm. Beat that!
  • Celibate Hero: After her break-up with her boyfriend, Jane decided not to even think about that kind of thing again at least until college. Owen counts too. Naturally, they end up together.
  • The Chessmaster: Lanalee comes pretty close but ends up somewhere around Smug Snake in the end. The most successful Chessmaster surprisngly turns out to be Allison.
  • The Comically Serious: Owen.
  • Cool Teacher: Brother Frank.
  • Deal with the Devil
  • Devil, but No God
  • Demonic Possession: Demons take souls, use the bodies those souls used to occupy, and then discard the bodies when they're ready to move onto another one.
  • Die Laughing: After Lanalee stabs Jane, she laughs (or at least tries to). Her "final" words? "Got you."
  • Does Not Like Spam: Jane will not eat red food, because food should not be the color of blood.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Crick, who's also a horrible coward.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Averted. Math seems to be Jane's best subject (bonus for it being the subject taught by the Cool Teacher), and her father is a college mathematics professor.
  • Evil Feels Good
  • Exact Words: Elton has to give Jane a kiss. Ally manipulates this by giving Elton a bag of candy to give to Jane. In the bag is... a Hershey's Kiss. So Elton gave Jane a kiss without even realizing it.
  • A FĂȘte Worse than Death: The Poodle Prom.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A variant: "representitive of the Satanic High Command, Hearth of the Cold and All-Consuming Fire, Destroyer of Worlds, Consumer of Souls, Taker of the Life Breath, Guardian of the Bottomless Ocean of Sorrow, Bearer of the Lance of Endless Pain, Lanalee Tremone, 10B."
  • Genre Blindness: Jane's parents; though they're Locked Out of the Loop, the Weddle Program is pure Schmuck Bait.
  • The Hero Dies: The possibility is raised from the prologue. Of course, it's ultimately subverted—but just barely.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jane has a small one after Owen shoots himself in the head in front of her. "There's been an incident."
  • High School
  • How We Got Here: The books starts with a short prologue in which Jane seems to be dying. The first chapter starts two weeks earlier and the rest of the book, save the last chapter, is spent explaining how the events described in the prologue came to pass.
  • Imagine Spot: What does Jane most fear Sister Albert, the school principal, will say on any of her numerous disciplinary trips to Sister's office? "Okay, Miss Jarvis, enough talking. We're going to settle this with some good old-fashioned wrestling. Get on the floor!"
  • Important Haircut: One of the first signs that things are taking a turn for the strange? Ally gets an adorable new hairstyle. Her hair was cut as part of the contract and turned into hail.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Jane finds her demonic contract written in one of her textbooks... in flames. Then the rest of the book goes up in flames.
  • Irish Priest: Brother Frank.
  • Life Drinker: Demons.
  • Love Hurts: Jane is still getting over being dumped by her boyfriend Elton. Gets harder when she finds out her best friend is now secretly dating him.
  • Love Triangle: A small but important part of the story. First, Jane still has feelings for her ex Elton, who is now dating her best friend Ally, and Owen has a crush on Jane who still has feelings for Elton. Since it's just those four, it never becomes a Love Dodecahedron.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lanalee.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lazarus Fields.
  • The Napoleon: Jane, less than five feet tall, introduced almost straight off the bat as an "angry little blond punk," a "troublemaker," and "famously argumentative," with an admitted "tendency to talk too much."
  • Nice Guy: Elton, to a fault.
  • Older Than They Look: A few cases, some of which are Really 700 Years Old.
  • One-Gender School: St. Teresa's for the girls, St. Sebastian's for the boys. St. Sebastian's is much, much nicer.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Jane's nighttime outing with Mr. Fields. Eventually she realizes that no, no it was not.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Hell is described as being like a business.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Owen is basically just an overly-serious, sexless high school freshman who doesn't age. May be a case of Our Angels Are Different, as he is clearly working for "the good guys."
  • Out-Gambitted: Ultimately, Lanalee.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Donna, who has blond hair and eyes "like a cartoon deer's."
  • The Power of Friendship: Not cheesy enough to reference it by name, but this is still what you're dealing with.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jane is more Hot-Blooded while Owen is more reserved. Jane and Ally are also kind of a variation, with Ally being something of a Shrinking Violet. Worth noting that Jane is also the brainier of both duos, despite being the red oni.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Jane's final gambit against Lanalee.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: At four foot ten and five-sixths inches, Jane is the shortest person at St. Teresa's. She also happens to be the smartest.
  • Shout-Out: A sophomore has a friend who knows someone who goes to Spence. (Maureen Johnson and Libba Bray are friends.)
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Jane and Joan. Jane is abrasive, short, plain, and brilliant. Joan is friendly, tall, beautiful, and as dumb as a brick.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Jane confesses to Lanalee that she never really liked guys, other than Elton, which was part of what made their break-up so hard. She finally gets over him, though, and she finds she's not Single-Target Sexuality after all. Just highly selective.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Owen. Jane specifically refers to him as "my stalker." He sort of has a reason for it beyond the crush, though. Joan's take on the subject:
    "Yeah, but stalking is kind of cool. My friend Kiera got stalked by this guy Ryan. He used to break into her locker and read all of her e-mail, and one time he took her phone and wrote down all of the phone numbers. But then they got together, and they've been dating for like a year! Which is kind of creepy but also really romantic."
  • Stern Teacher: All over the place (they're nuns), but Sister Charles probably takes the cake. According to Jane, "Sister Charles had never actually killed anyone, but she did leave you with the feeling that she was capable of some deeply frightening behavior." Maybe not loved, but by the end, you certainly respect her.
  • Student Council President: Donna, whose main authority seems to be making insipid speeches and "the ability to verify things"—"Homework assignments, weather conditions, days of the week, pages we left off on. Donna was happy to tell us all."
  • Take a Third Option: Jane's choices are: join up with Lanalee or let her take Ally. Jane chooses to piss Lanalee off so much she stabs her, thus breaking the rules and forfeiting any prize all together.
  • Teen Genius: Jane.
  • Tempting Fate: At one point Jane sarcastically asks herself, "How much better can my life get?" Considering we're not even halfway through the book...
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: It's one of the rules even the bad guys have to follow. They can't force someone to give up their soul. No direct interference. No physical harm. And certainly no killing. They break these rules, they forfeit.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: It's a book, but it's dwelled on long enough that it probably counts anyway. Incidentally, this book not recommended for emetophobes.
  • We Can Rule Together: Lanalee offers Jane the high life if she just gives up and joins her. Naturally, Jane refuses.
  • With This Herring: The thing Jane has to do battle with a hoard of demons is... a single steak knife (of righteousness).
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Joan, who seems to think Owen is a vampire.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Lanalee's plan was part Batman Gambit, part this.
    "But I don't lose, sweetheart. I just get a second-rate prize. I'll take it anyway."
  • Younger Than They Look: Sister Charles, who is twenty eight.