Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I have to say that I loved Maureen Johnson's contemporary series, 13 Little Blue Envelopes. It was so creative and fun, so immediately I was drawn to this book because I was interested and hopeful for her.

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.
At first, I thought that this was going to be set in around the 1800s, during Jack the Ripper's time. However, I found that it actually took place in modern times at a boarding school.
This boarding school, Wexford, that Rory attends makes me want to move to England. It really added the classic English feel to the book- American girl, English school. It tacked on just the right amount of a light feel to the murders and creepiness that was happening.
I was a bit confused from time to time as to what was happening. I felt like the boarding school scenes (the light ones) were really drawn out compared to the Ripper-ish scenes that were quick. I felt like you really had to pay attention to fully grasp what was going on.
Once the main plot was revealed, the story really picked up. In the beginning, it was mainly a 'oh boarding school!' kind of vibe that I felt but then it was just 'CIA investigators'. No? Well.
Then, for pretty much the second half of the book, they are like crime scene investigators and they are trying to figure out how to stop this crazy Ripper knockoff (or is it?). The pages turned by themselves, I swear.
Jazza, Rory's roomate, irked me and pleased me both. In the beginning, she was nice and normal, until Boo showed up (read the book to find out who that is). And then, she went all crazy and all #letsstalkthisgirluntilwefindoutALLofhersecrets. It was a little weird (so weird that I used a hashtag to describe it like some 40 year-old mom who just discovered what a "hashtag" is. Life.) But, praise the Lord, she became a bit more normal again.
Jerome was a bit weird as well, but I liked him. He really fit into the relief category with this book- the category where a character is created just so you as the reader don't lose your sanity. I didn't, in case you were wondering. Anyway, his relationship with Rory was a bit weird but it was a nice addition to the plot.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Over and out,

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