Monday, November 18, 2013

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star:
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.

When I first cracked this book open, I was hoping for a more genuinely frightening story, and while the story is gruesome and terrifying in a serial-killer-on-the-loose-killing-everyone kind of way, there was just no creepy factor for me. However the plot of this book still managed to completely draw me in. Maureen Johnson used the story of Jack the Ripper as the base for this story and put her own unique spin on it: a copy-cat killer who cannot be caught because he’s a ghost. The pace of this book was a little slow for my liking as well, but that didn’t discourage me from finishing, the characters were compelling and the mystery kept me in suspense. The romance of this book was refreshing because of it being kind of pushed aside, Rory had more important things to do rather than chase after a guy she just met. Maureen also added just the right amount of humor to keep this book from being morbid and somber, yet it didn’t take away from the tension at all. The way in which Maureen describes each scene was incredibly vivid and made me feel as if I were standing right alongside the characters. I loved the ending of this book because while you could decide to end the series here, it opens it up to the next book: The Madness Underneath.

Rory starts at her new school like any other transfer student, meeting new people and acclimatizing to a new culture. But her life is quickly changed forever when a brush with death allows her to see what most others can’t: ghosts. Along with this new ability comes more new friends, others who can see ghosts as well and who are a part of a special police force. Rory is pulled directly into the center of a murder investigation when it is discovered that she is the only witness of the Jack the Ripper copy-cat murderer. While she wishes she could just be a normal teenager and get to know one of the cute guys at school better, she knows that she can’t hide from doing what is right, especially if it will mean saving another life.

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