The Name of the Star (Shades of London # 1) by Maureen Johnson
Release Date – September 29, 2011
Publisher – Putnam
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 370
My Rating- 9/10
*obtained from Book Expo America for an honest review*
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
I’ve read a few Maureen Johnson books and was curious to see what she would do with this. I am thrilled to say it’s AWESOME.
Here is where I admit I have a bit of an interest in criminal cases. I had considered going into Criminology when I left high school. I am, of course, intrigued by Jack the Ripper’s case (especially as it was never solved). This immediately made me want to read this book.
Rory is a fish out of water in the beginning. She moves to London and into a boarding school. She seemed just like a typical teenager which is refreshing. We meet her roommate Jazza who I really liked. She was fun, and amidst creepy factor of the book provided some normalcy to the story. Jerome also provided this as well as having a crush on Rory. Alistair was also a favourite. I liked seeing him whenever Rory would go into the library.
We meet Callum, Stephen, and Boo. I really liked Boo. She’s brass, loud, and funny. She will hopefully provide some much needed humour in the next books as well. I loved Stephen. He is the swoony boy from the book. I felt for him, and the story he tells Rory later on in the book is sad. I think we’re just beginning to find out about him. I also suspect a bit of a triangle with Rory/Stephen/Jerome. Callum is a bit more reckless, and headstrong than Stephen. I enjoyed his sense of humour as well. Now, Callum, Stephen and Boo make up the Shades of London. I don’t want to give away exactly what they do, or how they work, but it’s unique.
The Jack the Ripper element provides a scary undercurrent to the whole story. I was legitimately scared for some of the characters in the book. The pay off with the story coming together at the end is excellent, and having everything tie together worked really well.
I loved the feeling of hype, fear, and paranoia that existed in the book. It really is like a media circus with some of these criminal cases. Networks, newspapers, etc sensationalize things like this and often do create “stars” out of the murders. Maureen was able to show this, and you could feel it along with the characters. It was a nice touch having it be a copycat of a murder from the past and have him copycat the exact dates. It gave them dates to obsess over, and to build the hype around.
The ending of this book was crazy. It sets up the second book in the best way. I have so many questions from just the last few paragraphs that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. You may think you’ve read something like this but Maureen makes it fresh, exciting and dare I say...fun!