The Name of the Star
by Maureen Johnson
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.
My Thoughts: I am a fan of Maureen Johnson. She is hilarious, seriously if you aren’t following on twitter then you simply must! I shamefully haven’t read that many of her books (Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett and The Last Little Blue Envelope), but I love her writing style, especially her most recent works. Johnson has an amazing sense of humor.
So I have to admit that while I love anything to do with Jack the Ripper, I was a bit weary of my sunshine laughter girl going too dark. Sometimes authors can switch up genres, and sometimes the reader is just left shaking their heads (Remember when Garth Brooks tried have the alter ego pop star personality of Chris Gaines? Sadly, many of you are probably too young for this reference, but it was weird. Really, really, creepy weird. Okay, so maybe I did buy one of the Chris Gaines singles, but I also rocked out to C&C Music Factory as a teen so what did I know?).
I shouldn’t have been worried. Yes, The Name of the Star deals with a killer re-creating the infamous murders of Jack the Ripper, yes the main heroine finds herself caught up in the mystery, but there’s still the humor and wonderful characters I’ve come to expect from Maureen Johnson.
Rory is an American in London, which makes for many humorous fish out of water moments, studying abroad. Unfortunately just as she arrives in the UK, the new Ripper murder begins. Rory soon becomes entangled in the investigation and learns that there is much more to the world than she thought, but there’s still papers to write, parents to reassure and roommates to deal with.
I was so sad when I came to the end of the book! I hope Maureen Johnson is busy working her witty little butt off on the sequel because I want more. It makes for both a good read and a good listen (as I listened to it on audio and then read it), creepy but humorous. There’s danger, hauntings, team sports (which might be the scariest part of the book), a 21 Jump Street feel to the plot, quirky characters, normal characters, boring, prissy characters, and a tiny bit of romance (although it’s not the focus of the story, everyone- take a deep breathe of relief with me!). The Name of the Star is just brilliant. I am so twitter stalking Maureen Johnson that much more now. 😉 If you’re thinking, this book’s not for me, it is. Unless your some kind of villain out of a Care Bear movie, but then I’ll just turn the Care Bear Stare on you and pow! The Name of the Star is now your kind of book. Honestly, one of my favorite reads of this year!
The Name of the Star gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of the book through the Around the World ARC Tours, but I purchased my own copy of the audio book before then and all opinions, snark and witty commentary are my own and not influenced in any way. 😉