Monday, October 17, 2011

Review
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Monday, October 17, 2011


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. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)


Reasons I chose this book: London and a boarding school setting, Jack the Ripper, gruesome murders, ghosts, and secret ghost police... how could I not choose this book?

Reasons I liked/disliked the book: I really like books set in London, a city that has always called to me as a place I would love to visit. Consequently, I immediately caught Rory's excitement over leaving her small Louisianna home to become a student at the Wexford School. London and specifically the area around Wexford was extremely important to the overall story since it was the old stomping grounds for the notorious Jack the Ripper murders; and therefore, became the perfect setting for the new Jack the Ripper's murder spree. Johnson's research on the events of the original Jack the Ripper murders gave authenticity to the present day murders and it was easy to imagine how both the historical murders and a present day reenactment could gain such attention. I loved how the tension built with each new murder. Johnson's use of the media frenzy was not only brilliantly played, but kept the events spiraling forward creating a suspense that kept the reader transfixed and propelled onward until the exciting and surprising climax and conclusion.

Rory was an interesting character, and made a fascinating narrator. She was the proverbial fish out of water. I think she was the perfect victim...not too weak, but also somewhat oblivious to everything happening around her. When Rory went from outside observer, to being a target, she gained my respect by not freaking out and running off to the comforts of parents and family. I also loved Rory's back story about her strange family, which I thought added a lot of layers to who she was. I found her reactions to her situation very realistic.
Reasons for recommending this book: If you love a good ghost story this one is a thrilling suspense ridden mystery, with a very original twist. Rory is a funny and endearing character who made me feel protective of her innocence. The romance is minimal but realistic and refreshing. All in all a very exciting read.


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