Friday, February 22, 2013

The Name of the Star

By Maureen Johnson

 The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

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 the police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory 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.

 So I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid, and this book was like going back to those times. I really enjoyed the tone and the story of this novel, which can dip into the darker themes at time (it is a book about Jack the Ripper).  I appreciated the history of Jack-the-Ripper with the map in the front with the area of White Chapel, it helped ground me. Also, having the protagonist from the U.S. going to London helped me get a feel for London in much the same way I would if I went, being from the U.S. myself. I enjoyed Rory’s point of view of living in London and the way people were the same and different from what she expected. There were plenty of funny moments that lightened an otherwise potentially dark book. I really enjoyed the mystery and the paranormal element and look forward to the next book, hoping it will keep the same tone, light, fantastical, and a little edgy.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5 but it’s really closer to 4!

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