Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1) 

Published: September 29th 2011, Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 372 pages
Part of a Series: Shades of London #1
Read For a Challenge: The TBR Double Dare
Teaser: "Babbling and babbling like a babbling thing.. Madness. Wouldn't shut up. She's fine really, probably some period thing. I go completely mental too. Period fever. It's the worst.
In a sentence or so: A monster seems to come from the past to kill and Rory is the only one who sees him. She is only a school student she can't save anyone, right?
*Rating: 9.5/10
GoodReads Description:
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.

1. Type of story: YA Horror/Paranormal Fantasy *set in England* (Free 1 point)
2.Consistency: Teacherly - sprinkling, hinting, foreshadowing, and occasionally repeating the important bits. This distracted from the flow  a little bu was barely noticeable. (1/2 point)
3. Flesh: I love every character in this book. "The Ripper" is a curious character. Rory has a wonderfully quirky family and background, she is brave and just all around quality friend material. Jo is the most admirable character I have met in a long time. I could go on and on, even characters that only existed for a couple pages were fascinating such as the ripperologist and the girl who sets up security camera systems. (1 point)
4. Flow: Like water in a stream I glided through this story; it was only slow enough to be memorable. (1 point)
5. Character Growth: Rory embraces this new life, a new side of herself, and becomes so brave. Very coming-of-age - she's making herself. (1 point)
6. A Point/ Purpose/ Journey: This story is Rory growing into what she's going to be and the mystery with "The Ripper" providing the platform. She went looking for a path in England, so even though it wasn't how she expected, she got what she wanted. (1 point)
7. Witty Dialogue: This is natural to Ms. Johnson's writing. So much that it need not be discussed. (1 point)
8. Love: First love shows its potential here for Rory, but the true passion in this story is bonding with friends that are the never-ending type. (1 point)
9. Evoke Realistic Images: I know Maureen spends a lot of time in England from her blog and that she is a dedicated researcher. This book shows the fruit of those labors in the best light. (1 point)
10. Writing/Story telling: Maureen you are the history teacher I always wanted. She give me a story with well rounded characters and intrigue me with truth so I must know more. Also her books slip in admirable traits in characters so I want to emulate them. (1 point)

Reread Worthy: Every chance I guess.
Recommendation: History buffs, serial killer story enthusiasts, those who want (just a little) vicarious horror in their lives, and fans of: Maureen Johnson's previous work (This is still in the same style though the genre has changed.), Scott Westerfield, Libba Bray, or John Green.
*Click Rating to see post about my 10 aspects of a great book.


  1. Wow, how creepy. I've always found Jack the Ripper to be a fascinating chunk from the English history. And the movie with Johnnie Depp is amazing, but also creepy. This sounds awesome. Thanks for the review.

    Speaking of which, I adore the way your organize your reviews. Very concise and to the point but well organized and it doesn't leave room for spoilers! I love it. I look forward to reading more of your reviews. : )

    1. I loved that movie too!

      And thank you so much, I have been hoping these reviews were reaching people and helping readers find great reads.

  2. I saw this one reviewed elsewhere, but yours was more interesting and made the book sound more interesting...

  3. This is likely one of my favourite of MJ's books. Like, they're all amazing, but she keeps managing to approve!

  4. Rory is a completely likable, authentic heroine. Her take on London and English boarding school, colored by her Southern sensibilities, adds much needed wit and humor to what could have been an otherwise horribly grim story.By the middle of the novel Johnson turns everything upside down taking the story in a surprising direction and introducing many of my favorite characters.*