Tuesday 11 October 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Pages - 370
Published by HarperCollins in September 2011
Book kindly sent by publisher for a honest review.

The eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins. She didn't notice them, of course. No one paid attention to the cameras. It was an accepted fact that London ha one of the most extensive CCTV systems in the world. The conservative estimate wast that there were a million cameras around the city, but the actual number was probably much higher and growing all the time. The feed went to the police, security firms, MI5, and thousands of private individuals - forming a loose and all encompassing net. It was impossible to do anything in London without the CCTV catching you at some point. 
Goodreads Summary
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.
As soon as I was introduced to Rory, I knew I was going to love her. Her sense of humour fitted perfectly with mine and her dry wit had me reaching for a hankie to stop the tears of laughter. I loved the way Maureen Johnson made a serious and often rather chilling novel, extremely funny too. Amongst the dark and disturbing scenes, you would find a hint of humour, to get you through the scene.

I loved viewing London through the eyes of an American. It was fascinating to experience things first hand with Rory, and I just loved the way she described things. This following scene had me cracking up, when Rory realised that it was normal for children to take part in daily P.E. lessons.

'I am not a very sporty person. Where I come from, it's too hot to run, and it's generally not encouraged. The joke is, if you see someone running in Benouville, you run in the same direction, because there's probably something really terrible right behind them.'

I know I am dwelling on the funnier aspects of this book, but I can't help it. I love the way Maureen Johnson writes. Although this book does have a huge creepiness to it. A lot of the scenes take place late at night where Rory can often be found out and about alone and doing something she isn't supposed to, putting herself in danger rather a lot. On many occasion I found myself a little nervous to turn the page. 

Jack the Ripper is highlighted through out the story and I found myself fascinated by the events that occurred around him. I learnt so much about his terrifying reign on London and found myself wanting to research more.  

The book discusses old underground tube stations that are now defunct and I adored this. I am desperate to visit one, even though I know they are not open to the public. Perhaps that is what lures me to them the most - the forbidden!

I have only one niggle with this book. I felt that we could have been made aware of Rory's rather special abilities a little earlier in the book. I couldn't help but feel they appeared rather too late in the story and they didn't come as a surprise to me, as I had guessed quite early what she was capable of.

As I came to the last couple of pages of the book, I was not a happy girl. I kept telling myself that surely the author wouldn't end the book that way. I should have known that the author was about to rugby tackle me to the floor and completely twist the story  to make the ending believable and make way for the next book in the series. 

I truly love the way this author writes. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books.  I want to write like Maureen Johnson; I want to be able to scare the hell out of my readers, and yet tickle them under the ribs too. 

If you are like paranormal YA with a touch of humour, then this book is for you. 


  1. This book sounds like it might be right up my alley! I didn't know this was the start of a new series by the way :)

    Waiting for a vlog with pictures from the underground now ;)

  2. I want this book so badly! There's no going wrong with Maureen Johnson.

  3. Ooooo, special ability..now I'm very curious :)

  4. Just looking at the cover until I saw mention of Jack The Ripper and London I had presumed this was set in the orient as the woman featured looks so oriental.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this one, its always a plus when you share something with a main character.

  5. It sounds like I need to try one of Johnson's books. I love books with a touch of humor.

  6. Mari - what vlog??? You will love this book!

    Nymeth - I didn't realise you had read any Maureen Johnson, now I know I must read more if you loved them.

    Animewookie - *lips are sealed*

    Petty Witter - the general consensus is that Maureen Johnson posed for the portrait as it eerily looks just like her.

    Bermudaonion - you will love it.

  7. This is one I really want to read so I'm glad you enjoyed it. It sounds great and I do really love the cover.

  8. Vivienne, this sounds really good, and really funny! Your review is wonderful, and I have learned of yet another book to be read!

  9. great review Viv! I loved this one too and I felt the same way with the wanting to research into the Jack the Ripper days! I am reading By Midnight too and thats having the same effect! :)

  10. I'm finally catching up on my blog reading and so I missed when you changed your blog header but it is beautiful! Love the new look Vivienne.

    Anyway, what a great book this sounds like. Another one for my list :)

  11. Ahh! I'm so glad I read this review! I JUST ordered this book from B&N last night, now I'm going to be impatiently waiting for it to arrive. I can't wait to read it! Awesome review, Vivienne!

  12. I remember this one, the old cover was more..meh ;)
    Sounds good and Ripper, scary

  13. I was just kidding, I was kind of referring to the fact that this book made you want to go to the old underground ;)

  14. Darlene - it was a great read. And the cover is just gorgeous. You know how easily I am drawn to pretty covers.

    Suko - I can't help but love a bit of humour.

    Raimy - I read Darkness Falls about the same time and it was fabulous to contrast the two.

    Illiana - thank you!

    Christy - I hope you love it as much as I did.

    Blodeuedd - what was the old cover? I wonder if you mean the US one.

    Mari - Phew! You made me panic. I thought I had written it wrong. Trying to catch me out eh?

  15. Great review. It is on my tbr list nearing the top. Must get to it. x

  16. This does sound good, and lovely cover also. It sounds like an interesting start to a series.


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