Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Name of the Star.

Title/Author: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Genre: YA/Paranormal.

Publisher: Penguin.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character:

All in all: Fun and spooky.

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.~Product Description.

My Thoughts: I’ve seen Maureen Johnson speak twice. She is probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever met so it was hard for me to picture her writing about something as serious as the Jack The Ripper mystery. However, she does so with ease. Her voice is clear and the book is astute, well plotted and convincing. Don’t get me wrong, there are funny parts in it too. Very funny. Rory, the main protagonist definitely has a touch of her creator. She is outgoing, extremely observant and humorous. I really liked Rory a lot. She is the type of girl that is interesting and fun and pretty easy going. She is also very caring and resourceful. I also like that she does have flaws and gets into a few embarrassing situations.

The other thing I liked about Rory and the book in general is that she is not boy crazy. She has a love interest, but it’s kind of secondary or even tertiary. The scenes that do have them together and interacting are fun and sweet. They did not jump into their relationship right away either. Rory has a revelation one day after getting to know him. “I felt the like bloom in me.” I remember that feeling!

It was a nice creepy read for me. Not overtly scary or gory, but it allowed that delicious chill up my spine. I also really enjoyed reading about some of the history (and mystery) of Jack The Ripper and how this historical character is still relevant today. It’s interesting about how he really got his reputation. All the media and hype that occurred in this story reminds me of reality tv and how celebrities are created…from Paris Hilton to the Octomom. The media sure is powerful. As Jerome one of the characters who is an aficionado of Jack The Ripper states, “The Star got famous because of Jack The Ripper. They took the stories of these murders and created one of the first media superstars. And they did a really good job because here we are, over a hundred years later, still obsessed.”

The writing itself is clever and the book flew by.  Her simile’s are unique and her descriptions are very perceptive. I love the way she describes the details of a ghost’s movements.

There were a few details in the story that I’m not sure I understood, but they were very minor and didn’t hinder my enjoyment. ***SPOILER ALERT: Also, the fact that there was footage of one of the murders where the victim could be seen and not the killer, I really do think that there would be people out there who would speak out and say it was indeed a ghost.  However, there was really no mention of that.  Most just theorized that the murderer somehow hacked the surveillance cameras.  :END SPOILER ALERT***

The Name of the Star wraps up nicely yet leaves room for the subsequent sequels. This is the first Maureen Johnson book I’ve read and although I prefer stand alones I’m looking forward to continuing Rory’s journey.


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