Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Putnam
Publication date: September 20th, 2011

Rory Deveaux arrives in London expecting to spend a magical year at boarding school. Instead she discovers that, the night before her arrival, the first in a series of Jack the Ripper copycat murders has occurred. The news takes over the city. Soon everyone is involved in "Rippermania"--even, somehow, Rory Deveaux.

When I heard that Maureen Johnson was deviating from her usual type of book (funny contemporary novel) and doing a mystery with GHOSTS IN IT, I was a little nervous. It's hard to be hilarious when a Jack the Ripper copycat is chopping people up. And her hilariousness is one of the things I love about MJ.

So I went into this book with reservations. They disappeared somewhere around the second paragraph.

We've come to expect funny observations, realistic interpersonal relationships, and loveable characters from Johnson, and this book has all three. It also has undertones of creepiness and lots of hidden London lore.

I didn't find myself connecting with Rory, the main character, in the way I've connected with some of Johnson's other narrators, but that's partly because she's so entertaining to just stand back and watch. She comes from small-town Louisiana and has been dropped into an exclusive London boarding school. There's potential for a lot of humor there, and Johnson delivers.

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