The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Jan 12, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pub. Date: September 29th 2011
ISBN: 0399256601
Pages: 372
Source: Library
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 was really excited to read this book because the summary sounded so promising. I ended up skimming about 200 pages though and just reading the end to find out what happened.

I adored the whole idea of bringing the Ripper to the modern day world. "Rippermania" in modern day form just sounded so interesting and at the beginning it really was. The story just continued to drag on and on though and I got really bored. There were long expanses of times where nothing interesting was happening and I started to skim for something better. The whole mystery aspect of the story seemed like it would have been good if the story had been set at a better pace, or at least filled with more mystery.

I also loved the setting. I love books that take place in foreign countries, especially when the author obviously has been there and knows a lot about it. Maureen Johnson seemed either very knowledgeable, or very good at making things up about the area. While I'm sure she's great at both, her settings were obviously based on real places. She did a wonderful job with the setting and I had the urge to drop everything and enroll in high school in London!

The characters were probably the other thing that made this story bland for me. Rory just wasn't someone I felt like rooting for or found interesting. Her friends were merely okay too. I just couldn't connect with anyone, and I almost felt like the characters had a hard time connecting with each other. 

Overall I really tried to enjoy this book, but it just didn't do it for me. It lacked a good plot (though the story idea was good) and it seemed like any other "whodunnit" story. I know that many people loved this book and that is what surprised me about my reaction, I guess I can't love everything everyone else does though...

Rating: Unfinished


  1. Oh man, that's too bad you didn't like it. I was totally enthralled by everything going on, and I really loved the characters, too. Like you said, though, you can't love everything. There have definitely been a few books for me that everyone else was raving about that I was going "huh? what am I missing here?"


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