1. The Name of the Star
2. The Madness Underneath (October 2012)
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 think I first saw The Name of the Star on Ruby’s Reads. I had no idea who Maureen Johnson was. It sounded like an intriguing premise, so I added it to my TBR list AND started following Maureen Johnson on Twitter. Following her on Twitter only made me more anxious to read The Name of the Star (mostly because Maureen Johnson is hilarious and entertaining). I picked up The Name of the Star for my first Bout of Books 3.0 read, and I was definitely not disappointed.
It took me only a few pages to fall in love with Rory and her dry sarcasm and general quirkiness. Rory’s move and adjustment to living in London was both amusing and believable. I’m always a little concerned about whether culture shock is believable in stories (both because I’ve gone through it myself and because I’ve researched it for my thesis) but it was handled well here. Reading The Name of the Star made me want to go to boarding school in London. And that is something that I didn’t think I would ever say. I did also very much enjoy the side characters. Maureen Johnson has a way of giving the side characters just enough quirks to make them memorable and interesting.
The Name of the Star is both paranormal and a mystery. I didn’t find the story to be particularly scary, though I’m not easily scared with books. I thought the mystery was a slow burner, but one that was eerie and freaky, and addicting, once I really got into the story. I love a good paranormal, but I think what I loved even more about The Name of the Star is that it seemed to straddle the line between paranormal and mystery. I have not read many paranormals where the main (or only) paranormal creature were ghosts, and due to the nature of how the world and the “secret ghost police of London” are set up, Rory’s world is actually quite believable. Though The Name of the Star is the first in a series, there is no cliffhanger (NONE!) and it can easily be read as a stand alone.