Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson. The GoodReads summary:
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.
Let me start off by saying that one of the things I liked the most about this book is that it takes place at an English boarding school. It has seriously always been my dream to go to boarding school—especially one in England. I don’t know why, because it’s not like it would probably be all that different from my experience in the freshman dorms at college, but still. I think it’s something to do with the uniforms (I’d look awesome in a blazer and tie), and it just seems like all the drama that unfolds would be entertaining to watch. Sorry. I’m getting carried away here. But the boarding school in this book seems especially awesome, so I can’t help it.

I also loved that this book was a mystery. I’ve been a sucker for mysteries ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book, and since mysteries don’t crop up all that often in YA fiction, I’m always excited when I find one. And technically, I guess this book was less a straight-up mystery and more of a suspenseful book with mystery elements, but I’ll take any form of mystery I can get. And I liked that Rory doesn’t act like an idiot about said mystery elements. I feel like a lot of times in mysteries the main character does a lot of stupid things that put them in the path of the killer, but I think Rory is pretty levelheaded, which I approve of.

One thing that I liked that I wasn’t expecting to was *minor spoiler* the ghost aspect. Ghosts can freak me out more than almost anything, but since this ghost acted more like a human than like a ghost, it didn’t end up scaring me at all. I mean, I got creeped out, but it was less because it was a ghost and more because he was, you know, a Jack-the-Ripper-wannabe serial killer. *end spoiler*

The romance was pretty low key in this book, and I’m not actually sure who the love interest is supposed to be. Rory makes out with Jerome, but it’s Stephen that she actually talks to and spends time with. So who knows? I guess we’ll find out in the next book.

And as a quick side note, I LOVE Rory’s roommate Jazza. She’s just so . . . nice. I would definitely want to be her friend in real life.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun. It wasn’t super fluffy—because the whole Jack-the-Ripper thing and all the murders are pretty serious—but it still managed to be pretty entertaining and was definitely thoroughly engrossing. I haven’t read a ton of Maureen Johnson’s stuff, just her Little Blue Envelope books and this one, but now I’m curious about her other ones, because this book definitely left me diggin’ her storytelling ability.

Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. I would love love love to read this book. It sounds amazing. But I'm a bit over the edge in terms of being scared of ghosts. Just the mention of them sends shivers right up my spine. It's just too bad. I love anything with a bit of Jack The Ripper influence in it :(

  2. I actually got the chance to meet the author last year at a book festival, and she was really nice! =) I still haven't picked up any of her books though, but I think I'll start with this one. I like a good mystery, so I'm definitely going to be reading this one, soon hopefully! Fabulous review!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  3. I find the premise of this book really interesting. I actually like the idea that the love interest(s) is not a big part of the book. While I am normally a junkee for romance, I think it would be refreshing. Thanks for the review.

  4. I totally agree that Jazza was an awesome roommate! It's always nice when the side characters have such personality. :) And the combination of English setting and ghost mystery were perfect for me. I thought that it was really well-executed--not too much romance to overshadow the bigger story and not TOO much gore for a Ripper copycat.


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