The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

Genre: Young Adult/Supernatural
Synopsis: Jack the Ripper is back, and he's coming for Rory next.... Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.


Review: It's taken me a lot time to get around to reading anything by the Secret Sister of the Vlogbrothers, and for the first third of so of the novel I was absolutely not disappointed. Johnson is well able to write, and quite a few nuggets of humour (e.g. the Singing Kidney) were reminiscent of the kind of whimsical, ridiculous humor John Green tends to employ in his own writing. The Jack the Ripper legend is one that has morbidly fascinated me for years, so i was excited to tuck into this story about him. I loved Rory from the outset, I found Alastair more intriguing than I really had any reason to, and I really Jazza and Jerome too. The boarding school setting was interesting, and it was really fun to read about London from a foreigner's perspective (yes, I'm technically foreign, but I'm so exposed to British culture on tv/internet that it's not nearly as foreign to me as it would be to an American!)

About a third of the way in, the book kicks into gear and for the most part, changes the primary cast of the novel to a set of characters I ultimately did not like nearly as much as the original set, which dampened my enjoyment of the story quite a lot. I particularly did not like Boo... I can't explain why, but the initial dislike that is deliberately set up to give way to a more likeable character just never quite wore off for me! I felt the others were a little flat, and as such I really only kept reading to see how things would turn out.

The plot was pretty decent, although I wasn't overly excited by the resolution. The standard of writing continued throughout, though, so it remained easy to read and I had no problem finishing it despite my issues with it. All in all, I like Maureen Johnson as a writer, I'm just not sure this specific series of books/characters is for me. Will definitely pick up others by her, though.

Rating: 3/5

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