Monday, September 3, 2012

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - Review (Rippermania is about to gitcha!)

Title: The Name of the Star (Shades of London, Book #1)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: September 29th, 2011

Format/Page Count: Kindle/372

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Purchased: 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. (From GOODREADS)

Expectation: To be honest, I didn't have any expectations with this one. It's another Twitter thing. I follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter. She's pretty entertaining. I just thought that it was time for me to read one of her books. This one appealed to me the most.

Market/Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal, Contemporary, Mystery (As usual, I'm classifying this as I see it. This is a total cross genre AND cross market book). I heard somewhere that it was also considered a romance. My opinion? NO.


I want to get the book-love out right away, because I feel like I might have been a bit snarky in the Expectation/Market/Genre sections. So, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book. As soon as I started reading it, I knew it was one of those rare books that both my wife & I would love. I wasn't even finished when I told her she had to check it out. She downloaded it and read it in a flash...and loved it as much as I did.

Favourite Quotes:

"Something about her suggested that her leisure activities included wrestling large woodland animals and banging bricks together."

"Sometimes you have to see the bathroom to know the hard reality of things."

"That prospect seemed unlikely after my display tonight, unless English people were really into people who could eject food from their throats at high velocity."

"The wind was kicking up a fury, spinning leaves and trash around us, and I remember thinking, This is it. I am walking into forever. It was almost funny. Life seemed downright accidental in its brevity, and death a punch line to a lousy joke."

"It's not that I am extremely brave--I think I just forgot myself for a minute. Maybe that's what bravery is. You forget you're in trouble when you see someone else in danger."

I adore this book and I am thrilled that it's book one in a series. My hat is off to Ms. Johnson for the unimaginable amount of research she must have had to do for this story. And none of the info was given to the reader as a dump...I never once felt like I was being force fed facts. The voice was perfect and the story never lagged. I was hooked from word one to the last and I would have no problem recommending this book to anyone, any age, any gender.

Rory, the narrator of this tale, is someone the reader can really love. And that's the trick of a great book...getting that emotional connection to the narrator created early on. Ms. Johnson accomplished this with a perfect narrator voice and an amazing sense of humour. Once that solid attachment is established, the author has the reader by the throat. A good writer is not afraid to take the reader to difficult and hair-raising places once that connection is made.

I just love this retelling of the Jack the Ripper story. The best historical retelling novel I've ever read. There's a great deal of the original 1888 Ripper story interwoven with the modern-day NEW Ripper story in which Rory finds herself firmly ensconced. What was really exciting--in a peculiar way--was the Rippermania created by the media and the people of London. It was done so perfectly that the reader could actually believe it 100%. In today's instant internet age, this mania would absolutely occur. The excitement almost overshadowed the blood. People were getting murdered and the public was showing up at 1888 Ripper murder scenes, ready to party and await the next throat-slashing. It was pretty epically real.

You may have noticed I didn't really tell you much about the book itself. I don't want to give anything away. I'll just sum it up really quickly for you. Rory goes to London to attend a boarding school--she almost chokes to death while being an awkward American (funny scene!)--Jack the Ripper appears to have come back from the grave and begins to recreate the deaths of his 1888 rampage in modern-day London--Rory gets caught up in the Ripper case, first as a result of having a little crush on one of the prefects of the school who is obsessed with the case and then as a result of the Ripper targeting her as a possible victim--as the only witness in the Ripper case, Rory gets noticed by an underground department of the London Police force. It is an exciting ride! If you pick it up, you won't want to put it down until you finish. Ms. Johnson will captivate you with this story...she will OWN you.

Enjoy! Here's where you can pick it up RIGHT NOW!

There's a reason Ms. Johnson is the Queen of Teen!

Expectation: Yeah. I loved it. I was shocked today to see a 1-star review of this book on Goodreads. Only a brainless yit would not find something to love in this book. me. Get it. Read it. Love it. My expectation for book two in this series is just ridiculous! I cannot wait. And neither can my wife. (-:

Size: 5

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