Monday, November 21, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam

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. - Goodreads.com

The true story of Jack the Ripper has been one I've found personally disturbing and eerie since I was a kid.  I saw that movie Time After Time when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares for weeks.  Ever since then, just the thought of Jack the Ripper was enough to make my skin crawl.  Why did I read this book then?  It was GOOD.  What a unique story idea! 

Rory lives in a boarding school in London, and the new "Ripper" murders start happening almost from the moment she arrives to begin her schooling in England.  She's inadvertently sucked into the drama of what's happening to London as Rippermania takes off.  She handles herself well.  She's smart, she's brave, a little impulsive at times, and so funny.  That was one very unexpected piece to this... Rory's narrative.

This story is obviously pretty serious business, the murders are scary, and figuring out who the new Ripper is has everyone on edge.  Comic relief comes in the form of Rory and her narrative.  I found myself laughing aloud at some of the things she thinks.  Awesome job with this character.

I wasn't sure that I was all that crazy with the initial love interest that was introduced.  He came across as a little too flighty and nerdy for me, but I'm still willing to wait and see how it goes.  However, there is another male character introduced later in the story that I found interesting.  I'm eager to see if something is done with him.

All in all, this was a very good story... suspenseful, with some funny moments, and one or two pretty big shockers that I never saw coming.  I can't wait for book 2!!

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