Review of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

by - November 15, 2011

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.

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Rory's parents have a gap year from teaching, so they decide to move over to Bristol. Rory chooses to go her own way and goes to a London boarding school. Once there, she makes friends, chokes on her dinner and discovers some new abilities. Oh yeah, and there's a Jack the Ripper copycat in town.

Of all the colourful characters, Alistair was easily my favourite. Although he didn't appear often, his dry humour had me in fits of giggles. The main character, Rory, is okay and she does have her awesome moments but mostly is your typical YA heroine. When Rory first moves into Wexford, the boarding school, she's warmly greeted by Jazza, and they become firm friends. erome joins the gang around the same time too, he's obsessed with the Ripper murders. That's all I remrmber. Unfortunately, after Boo joins them, Rory drifts away from Jazza and we barely see at all throughout the rest of the book. Jerome turns up a little more regularly than Jazza but also frifts away. Later on, Callum and Stephen join in and I have difficulty working out who's who because they are so similar.

''I looked at the stained glass image of the lamb in the window above me, but that only reminded me that lambs are famous for being led into slaughter, or sometimes hanging around with lions in ill-advised relationships.'' - Rory

I was hoping for a bit more from this. It really seemed to be working towards something truly special, but half way through the plot changes slightly, new characters arrive and it becomes your typical YA paranormal book. Only with a little Life On Mars spice added.


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  1. I thought this book was amazing! The paranormal elements were different to me because the romance wasn't the main focus and I haven't read that many that include ghosts. Vampires seem to be the preferred paranormal creature of choice.


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