Literary Friday: The Name of the Star

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"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.
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The Name of the Star was a very pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't heard much about it, but it got a lot of positive reviews and I knew it had Jack the Ripper stuff, so I was willing to take a chance on it. And I am SO GLAD that I did!


Maureen Johnson fills this book with breezy, witty, but relatable humor, juxtaposed with mystery and suspense. It's not a scary book, but it does keep you turning the pages. I wasn't expecting the few twists and turns that are in there (which, believe me, is something new). 


I liked all of the characters, even the ones that were prats. I loved the very realistic portrayal of England, from the casual details of slang to the geographic markers and the general bulls eye topics within British culture. I felt like I was immersed there, realistically. In fact, this book so pulled me into it that I refused to go out after dark while I was reading it.


The main character, Rory, is likeable. And although she's much more wise and grounded than most teenagers I've known, she's also very real. She follows hormones instead of common sense, sometimes, and she's fully aware of it. She doesn't rush in and save the day (in fact, in many ways she's a victim), but her tenacity and compassion are heroic. She's very observant, which I like in a protagonist, and she's also a true individual.


I know the story is over. I know it. But I want to roll around in this world some more. I want to be Rory's friend, and hang out with her, and see what happens next. To everybody.


And after reading the afterward, where Maureen thanks her friends (the list of which includes most of my absolutely favorite authors), I'm 99% certain that Maureen Johnson is going to be on my favorite-author list.


I highly recommend this for fans of that nebulous genre between YA and Fiction, where well-written and adult books happen, even if the protagonist is a teenager. Also for fans of Great Britain, especially London; Jack the Ripper; the supernatural; well-paced mysteries/suspense novels; and those in favor of believable, and strong, female protagonists. 

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