The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #1
Book Depository | 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.
The only Maureen Johnson I've read before this one was The Bermudez Triangle, a really well done YA LGBT contemporary novel. So, when I picked up The Name of the Star, I wasn't expecting much, but I didn't expect to be so underwhelmed by it, either. This is clearly a case of a fantastic story idea not being executed as well as it could have been.
I mean, a ghostly Jack the Ripper killing again? And our heroine Rory gets all caught up in it because she can see the ghost? There are so many directions to go with it, but the book spends half the time with Rory describing the minutiae of her boarding school life, her friendships, her budding relationship (sort of), etc. It's actually a really good portrait of a teenage girl being thrust into a new school and culture, but the book isn't only about that. Half way through the plot finally announces itself by inserting one of the most annoying characters I've read in a long time, "Boo". Seriously. Her nickname is Boo.
It's obvious where and why Boo comes in, and as the plot begins rolling along, it doesn't get too much more interesting. I really wish it were, because it's such a good premise, and I really liked Rory despite her being such an unassuming, borderline uninteresting character.
That's mostly what I've taken away from The Name of the Star: it could have been so, so much better.