Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review - 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 events 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. Even her roommate, who was walking 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.

Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star was a fast-paced and enjoyable read that kept me in suspense as I followed Rory’s character solve the puzzle of the new murders mirroring those of Jack the Ripper in the 1880’s.  I love a good mystery and Rippermania + the supernatural + a young American girl in a London boarding school = a MUST read.  One of the things I enjoyed most was reading about the history and trivia of the old Ripper murders.  Maureen Johnson did a great job keeping those facts straight.  It inspired me to do my own research on the subject and look up some of the things mentioned in the book.  Pretty scary!!  But the author made the story her own.  The creative plot had a bunch of interesting twists and never failed to hold my attention.  It was also filled with funny moments and clever lines that made me laugh out loud.  
        If you’ve ever read a book by Maureen Johnson, you know that you won’t be disappointed in her books’ characterizations or settings.  She is great at describing places in such a way that the environment not only sets the stage, but also sets the mood.  I enjoyed all the differences portrayed between Rory’s hometown in Louisiana to her new surrounding in Wexford from the clothes to the weather to the food and the sayings.  The characters in the book are all very well defined.  Rory is a realistic teenage girl with southern roots and perceivable motives and reactions.  She was very easy to relate to.  The other characters also had very interesting personalities and stories from Rory’s roommate Jazza and her other Wexford classmates to the members of the shade police and especially the murderer.  Psychology is a very interesting subject and Maureen Johnson has woven into her story a fascinating psychology of fear and how it affects people.
        To say the least, I was riveted by the mystery of Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star.  I was very satisfied with the conclusion and, while the ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, I was still left intrigued and curious to find out more about Rory and her abilities.  I will definitely be keeping up with The Shades of London Series.

4 out of 4 Stars
Review by @MaryMunar

Image of Maureen JohnsonREAD the first 78 pages of The Name of the Star!

Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Series: Yes
Pages: 384 
Genre: Mysteries, Horror
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