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.
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.