Sometimes there are books that intrigue you so much you push past your fear of it being super creepy and read it anyway. Well, that’s how I felt about Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star, but I read it anyway and in the end I LOVED IT!
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.
Like I said earlier, I really, really loved this book despite being hesitant to read it. Honestly I was totally surprised at how much I was enjoying it while I was reading it. Yes, it was majorly creepy at times; in fact there was one scene in particular that had me closing my blinds earlier than usual!
Part of the reason I liked The Name of the Star as much as I did, was because my husband and I had just gotten back from a trip to London (first time ever!). I was especially excited to listen to the descriptions of a city I had literally just visited a few weeks before. Johnson’s description of the London Underground was spot on and had me replaying descriptions for my husband as well! And as always, a boarding school book never lets me down. I don’t know what it is but stories where the main character is away at boarding school are always so much more fun than regular school!
I really connected with Rory, the main character. She was witty and eccentric and sincerely kind – the type of person I’d like to be friends with. Plus she is from the south and living in Florida I totally understood her story about the alligator moving towards her!
Historical fiction is a genre I really like and Johnson’s mix of the paranormal plus historical fiction was wonderful. The myth surrounding Jack the Ripper, such a mysterious and fascinating character, is not something I knew a lot about before reading The Name of the Star. The book prompted me to look up more information online, which was equally fun and terrifying!
I listened to The Name of the Star on audiobook and strongly recommend it to those of you on the hunt for a good one. The narrator Nicola Barber was one of the best I’ve heard in a while, so I plan to look for others read by her. All in all, go ahead and read this one, it is a mysterious and creepy young adult thriller, but in a fun way!