Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Penguin/Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Pages: 370 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

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


Aurora "Rory" Deveaux's first day in London is a momentous one, but not because of her; it was the day a series of modern Ripper murders began and terrorized the city. To Rory, these murders take a backseat as she settles into Wexford, her new boarding school, and makes friends... at first. Then one of the murders happens on campus and Rory is seeing people that others can't see except for three other people she hardly knows. Unless something is done, Rory will be the Ripper's next target and it isn't going to be pretty.

-sigh- I hate it when books I've been excited about for months turn out to be duds like this. It only upsets me further to have to write a review and admit it.

Johnson really brought London and Wexford to life and created a wonderfully dreary atmosphere. There were a few things about the novel I enjoyed: Alistair, Boo, the alligator anecdote, Jerome and Rory's assignment with butts. However, the last one was the only one I enjoyed of its own merit. The other three were only enjoyed because of how they applied to me or what they reminded me of (Alistair shares a name with the antagonist in my own manuscript, Boo sounds like Lily Allen in my head, the alligator anecdote reminded me of how we lived on the river when I was a baby and my dad had to shoot at a river gator every once in a while), not of any merit they might have on their own.

Other than the atmosphere and setting, the writing cannot deliver; I lacked the all-important connection to the characters and called each twist long before it was revealed. To be honest, The Name of the Star is such an average book that this is the shortest review I've written since I started reviewing over a year ago. There is next to nothing I can say about it because of the lack of any remarkable content. I've heard people make the same criticism of Johnson's other books, so I may try another of her novels so I can see if it's just this book, just me, or something more. Maybe this will be someone else's perfect book, but it sure isn't mine.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

1 comment:

  1. Rory Deveaux's parents decided a long time ago that it would be good for all of them to spend some time living outside of Louisiana which is how Rory finds herself arriving at a London boarding school the September of her senior year while her parents begin a teaching sabbatical in Bristol.

    Rory isn't sure what to expect of England much less her English school--especially when she finds out she will be playing hockey every single day as part of her curriculum. Rory's expectations become unimportant soon enough when something strange happens.


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