Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (September 29, 2011)

Description: New York Times bestseller Maureen Johnson takes on Jack the Ripper in this captivating paranormal thriller!

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him--the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.


My Thoughts: Rory Devaux, Louisiana teenager, comes to London to attend boarding school while her law professor parents are spending a year teaching at Bristol. She is excited to be experiencing English boarding schools for herself. Her boarding school happens to be in the same area that was terrorized by Jack the Ripper in 1888. Now it looks like Jack is back. Someone is recreating the murders despite the prevalence of CCTV cameras all over London. 

Naturally, Rory and her friends are fascinated by these crimes but Rory never expects to be the only witness to one of the murders. Especially since her roommate Jazza didn't see the man even though she was with her. It doesn't take long for Rory to be swept into a world she didn't know about. She learns about a special part of the London police who deal with ghosts. It seems that sometimes, when a teenager has a near death experience, they come back able to see ghosts. Rory didn't think choking on a chunk of beef would have those consequences.

I liked the character of Rory. She was self-confident, brave, and had a quirky sense of humor. I liked her friends Jazza and Jerome. Though I didn't really buy the romance between Rory and Jerome despite the amount of "snogging" the two of them did. I liked the mystery aspect of the story, too, and thought the tension built nicely to a powerful climax. I thought her police friends -- Stephen, Callum, and Boo -- were well-drawn characters with distinct personalities. 

Fans of boarding schools, mysteries, ghosts, and Jack the Ripper will enjoy this story. 

Favorite Quote:
I decided to deflect her attitude by giving a long, Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death. 
This one has been on my TBR mountain since Sept. 2011. I bought it. You can buy your copy here

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