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young adult book reviews & more

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

American teen Rory Deveaux arrives in London, excited for her first experience of boarding school abroad. She quickly finds out that the date of her arrival is more auspicious than she would have thought, because it marks beginning of a series of gruesome murders mirroring those of the famed Jack the Ripper from over a century ago. These graphic killings whip London into a frightened frenzy, especially as more mutilated bodies turn up on each anniversary of a Ripper murder. Rory is relieved to be a mere spectator in this crazy time, but when she spots a mysterious man near what later turns out to be a murder scene, she is forced to become involved. Little does she know that she’s just stumbled into perhaps one of the greatest and most sinister murder mysteries ever—and that she might be the only who can solve it.

I have long enjoyed many novels by Maureen Johnson, most notably Suite Scarlett and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but The Name of the Star catapults Johnson into the realm of great. At first glance, Johnson’s latest novel may not seem too sensational, but her writing has a way of slowly reeling readers in. It also helps that this story is about a modern twist on the Jack the Ripper murders, which is interesting subject matter on its own. This makes for an exciting plot and irresistible story, full of quirky humor, fun historical trivia, and lot of thrilling twists. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Johnson’s tendency toward exaggerated sarcastic descriptions, but this became less of an issue as the story progressed and the plot became even more gripping. In all, I really think that The Name of the Star is Johnson’s best novel yet, and I definitely can’t wait to read more of Rory’s story in The Madness Underneath.

The Name of the Star will appeal to fans of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from personal collection

6 munch(es) :

Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) said...

I loved this book! You're right, Maureen Johnson just sucks you in with her writing. I really didn't expect to love this as much as I did -- I'm sad that it was a library book, though! It's on my to-buy list, that's for sure. :) Can't wait for the next one!

fakesteph said...

Loooove Maureen Johnson. She's one of my favorite writers!

Heather Roddenberry said...

I love Johnson's contemporary's so I was really excited to see how she would handle the leap to mystery/ paranormal. And it was flawless! I think Johnson can write in any genre she wishes and I would enjoy it:)

Elisquared said...

I love Johnson's contemporary novels, but I'm so glad she's doing more supernatural books, similar to her book Devilish. I think the details she has about the actual Ripper cases was very thoughtfully used, but she made it her's in a unique way! Can't wait to read more within this world!

holdenj said...

Can't wait for the sequel and I thought Rory's New Orleans background made her so open to the supernatural-ish goings on!

Sara H. said...

The Madness Underneath comes out soon and I'm so excited! It has been like 2 years of waiting for the sequel! Lovely review!

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