|The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Source: Digital Copy
Buy It: Amazon
|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’m honestly not sure what drew me to this book. I’ve tried to read some of Maureen Johnson’s books before and I was not a fan…at all. Add to that an ugly cover? I think the main thing I was looking forward to was a Southern girl displaced in London unexpectedly. Somewhat reminiscent of Anna, n’est pas? I’m pretty happy that I gave it a shot though. I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed the novel. Contrary to her other YA novels, Johnson delivers an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing and introduces an exciting storyline for the beginning of a series. I think that, based on my opinion of her previous books, Rory is a more believable heroine than her other main characters. She’s confused, scared and still a teenager. She’s written really well in the respect that she’s not put in a typical situation to begin with and she’s a trooper throughout even though she has a couple breakdowns but it’s all believable.
Going into this book I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a fantasy novel or simply a mystery because the synopsis is so vague, but in a good way. Without spoiling everything, it is a fantasy novel but not on the level of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s a pretty realistic setting with just a splash of paranormal. Half of book is trying to figure out what’s happening, however, and I definitely won’t spoil that factor but the cast of characters is definitely interesting and they create a great dynamic with Rory. If I had to compare this novel to any, the plot aspect is comparable to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. If you enjoyed that book, then I believe that you would definitely enjoy this one.
Now we can’t forget the love story factor and while there is one in the novel, it isn’t prominent and there also might be a slight love triangle. At least, I hope there is because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the obvious love interest for Rory. As I mentioned before though, this is going to be a series so there is still hope for the guy that I prefer. It’s a nice break from all the angst though. I think that plays into the realistic part of the novel – there is a love story happening but Rory has bigger, supernatural things going in her life and her love life has to take a backseat. It will have its place in the series, I’m sure, but in this first book it wasn’t prominent. This book is definitely worth the read – it’s different from a lot of what’s floating around right now and it’s a nice break from straight up YA novels that you might be inundated with right now.