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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Review: The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: September 29th 2011
Publisher:Harper Collins

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.

This is actually the first book I’ve read that’s by Maureen Johnson, so I didn’t know what to expect. Normally, I would shy from these types of things; I mean come on it IS Jack the Ripper. Are you kidding me? I’m not a big fan of horror movies, or horror books ,for that matter. A few weeks ago before reading the book, I (foolishly) thought that this was a historical paranormal. So imagine my surprise when I started reading and found out that this was set in present day, not in the 1880’s with the ‘actual’ Jack the Ripper.

The plot was very multi-layered and clever; it’s obvious that the author had put so much thought into this. I read in an interview that she intended the beginning to be heavy on the school boarding stuff, and I agree. At the start, I didn’t feel like I’m reading a paranormal story. It felt more like a contemporary. Which isn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t boring; it was unlike others I had read before.

What was up with the title? I asked myself. I actually thought of it literally. But you’ll find out in the book why it’s called that and YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME THAT THAT IS THE MOST FITTING AND BEAUTIFUL NAME FOR THIS BOOK. I love it whereas I hated it before.

You can see Maureen did her research. Damn, those historical facts were very interesting AND accurate. Despite living near London (well, quite) I had only been a few times (guys, I AM only fifteen) so I found her descriptions of locations very detailed. Oh, and I want to go to her boarding school now! Next year I would be doing my A-Levels as well (the same as Rory’s) and now I wish that the school was real ha! I also love the English references! , and how Rory compares them to the US.

Maureen’s writing is just lovely and fabulous. I admire her use of switching between third person and first person, formal and informal. The main character Rory’s personality shone through. Her humor is fresh and witty. I loved her. She’s just the kind of person you aspire to be. She’s not a wimp. But she’s not brave either, which showed that she’s human; she gets scared. She’s loyal, relatable, trustworthy and just a genuinely nice person.

Have I mentioned how FUNNY this book is? I never knew books with Jack the Ripper could be so amusing. But this one is. There were a lot of times that I was laughing out loud hysterically my dad was giving me strange looks. The writer managed to balance the creepiness and entertainment just right.

One thing that I wasn’t particularly ok with was the romance. There’s a guy, then another one appeared, and THEN another one. It was not until near the end of the book that things were cleared up, and I crossed one guy off from the list. She’s on and off with unnamed guy, but I have a feeling the other guy (that I prefer) would be more prominent in the second book.

I know this is going to be a trilogy, but honestly I’m more than fine if it’s just a stand-alone. I think it’s one of those books that don’t leave you hanging; the story has a beginning, middle and the end.
Overall, The Name of The Star is one book that you cannot miss. You’ll have to read it. Or Jack the Ripper might go to you next.


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