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Review: The name of the star by Maureen Johnson

The name of the star
Published by HarperCollins

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.


The Name of the Star was an awesome read which I enjoyed entirely. It was creepy and fast paced with brilliant characters.

The book is written from the point of view of Rory an American teenager who has just moved to London to attend a boarding school whilst her parents are working in the UK at Bristol University. Her arrival is over shadowed by the fact that people are being found murdered in the area in an apparent Jack the Ripper copy cat murder spree.

I loved loads of things about this book

I really enjoyed the links to Jack the Ripper. The history geek in me (ok the gruesome history geek) loved how the story linked into the history surrounding Jack the Ripper and how it linked in to all the theories around who the police thought Jack the Ripper might have been. I loved how the idea was played out to put so much fear into the people of London but also chuckled at how there were people about cashing in on the murders with Jack the Ripper merchandise!

I loved the setting of the book. I will admit I am a bit of a boarding school book geek having been brought up on Malory towers and St Clare's books. It was a bit stereotypical at times (eg the perfect yet slightly evil headgirl and the busy body matron) but I loved it all the same. I did however question whether such an exclusive boarding school would in fact exist in the white chapel area of London (I rather think not but do tell me if I'm wrong).

I really liked the main character Rory. I thought she was both sweet and funny and quite a likable soul who dealt with everything thrown at her brilliantly well. I loved the relationships she built up with her classmates (especially those with her room mate Jazza and Jerome) and liked seeing her grow as the book went on.

For me the thing that made this book stand out was the twist to the murders and why only Rory was able to see the main suspect (and therefore be the only witness). I thought it was done in a really clever way and I am so looking forward to seeing how this twist is used later on in the series as it has the potential to be awesome.

The story itself (which I won't go into too much detail about so I don't spoil it for anyone) was brilliantly fast paced which kept me reading and reading not wanting to put the book down as I needed to know what happened next.

All in all a fantastic book which I would recommend thoroughly.


I want this book, why don't I have this book? I am so sad that I don't have this book. But it's nice to see it getting so much love on the blogosphere so that I know it'll have a place on my book shelves here at home when it comes out.
Do you follow Maureen Johnson on twitter? She is hilarious!
Cass said…
Despite the excessive use of text, I can't help but be awed by the simplicity of beauty of this cover. It's just far better than the US cover, and I'm so glad that this is what is being sold over here in Australia.

Glad you loved it! I should pick up a copy sometime.
serendipity_viv said…
I have just started reading it and absolutely love her dry sense of humour hidden amongst the darkness of the book!
Essjay said…
For some reason I just haven't got around to this book yet but must - it sounds like I'd love it. Also, so with you on the Malory Towers!
Isn't this book fantastic? I love Maureen Johnson. And boarding school stories!