The Name of the Star (Shades of London Series #1)

The Name of the Star (Shades of London Series #1)

by Maureen Johnson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101535691
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/29/2011
Series: Shades of London Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 252,289
File size: 651 KB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Maureen Johnson (www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com) is the author of seven young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Let It Snow. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

If you live around New Orleans and they think a hurricane might be coming, all hell breaks loose. Not among the residents, really, but on the news. The news wants us to worry desperately about hurricanes. In my town, Bénouville, Louisiana (pronounced locally as Ben-ah-VEEL; population 1,700), hurricane preparations generally include buying more beer, and ice to keep that beer cold when the power goes out. We do have a neighbor with a two-man rowboat lashed on top of the porch roof, all ready to go if the water rises—but that’s Billy Mack, and he started his own religion in the garage, so he’s got a lot more going on than just an extreme concern for personal safety.

Anyway, Bénouville is an unstable place, built on a swamp. Everyone who lives there accepts that it was a terrible place to build a town, but since it’s there, we just go on living in it. Every fifty years or so, everything but the old hotel gets wrecked by a flood or a hurricane—and the same bunch of lunatics comes back and builds new stuff. Many generations of the Deveaux family have lived in beautiful downtown Bénouville, largely because there is no other part to live in. I love where I’m from, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the kind of town that makes you a little crazy if you never leave, even for a little while.

My parents were the only ones in the family to leave to go to college and then law school. They became law professors at Tulane, in New Orleans. They had long since decided that it would be good for all three of us to spend a little time living outside of Louisiana. Four years ago, right before I started high school, they applied to do a year’s sabbatical teaching American law at the University of Bristol in England. We made an agreement that I could take part in the decision about where I would spend that sabbatical year—it would be my senior year. I said I wanted to go to school in London.

Bristol and London are really far apart, by English standards. Bristol is in the middle of the country and far to the west, and London is way down south. But really far apart in England is only a few hours on the train. And London is London. So I had decided on a school called Wexford, located in the East End of London. The three of us were all going to fly over together and spend a few days in London, then I would go to school and my parents would go to Bristol, and I would travel back and forth every few weeks.
 
But then there was a hurricane warning, and everyone freaked out, and the airlines wiped the schedule. The hurricane teased everyone and rolled around the Gulf before turning into a rainstorm, but by that point our flight had been canceled and everything was a mess for a few days. Eventually, the airline managed to find one empty seat on a flight to New York, and another empty seat on a flight to London from there. Since I was scheduled to be at Wexford before my parents needed to be in Bristol, I got the seat and went by myself.

Which was fine, actually. It was a long trip—three hours to New York, two hours wandering the airport before taking a six-hour flight to London overnight—but I still liked it. I was awake all night on the flight watching English television and listening to all the English accents on the plane.

I made my way through the duty-free area right after customs, where they try to get you to buy a few last-minute gallons of perfume and crates of cigarettes. There was a man waiting for me just beyond the doors. He had completely white hair and wore a polo shirt with the name Wexford stitched on the breast. A shock of white chest hair popped out at the collar, and as I approached him, I caught the distinctive, spicy smell of men’s cologne. Lots of cologne.

“Aurora?” he asked.

“Rory,” I corrected him. I never use the name Aurora. It was my great-grandmother’s name, and it was dropped on me as kind of a family obligation. Not even my parents use it.

“I’m Mr. Franks. I’ll be taking you to Wexford. Let me help you with those.”

I had two incredibly large suitcases, both of which were heavier than I was and were marked with big orange tags that said HEAVY. I needed to bring enough to live for nine months. Nine months in a place that had cold weather. So while I felt justified in bringing these extremely big and heavy bags, I didn’t want someone who looked like a grandfather pulling them, but he insisted.

 “You picked quite the day to arrive, you did,” he said, grunting as he dragged the suitcases along. “Big news this morning. Some nutter’s gone and pulled a Jack the Ripper.”

I figured “pulled a Jack the Ripper” was one of those English expressions I’d need to learn. I’d been studying them online so I wouldn’t get confused when people started talking to me about “quid” and “Jammy Dodgers” and things like that. This one had not crossed my electronic path.

“Oh,” I said. “Sure.”

He led me through the crowds of people trying to get into the elevators that took us up to the parking lot. As we left the building and walked into the lot, I felt the first blast of cool breeze. The London air smelled surprisingly clean and fresh, maybe a little metallic. The sky was an even, high gray. For August, it was ridiculously cold, but all around me I saw people in shorts and T-shirts. I was shivering in my jeans and sweatshirt, and I cursed my flip-flops—which some stupid site told me were good to wear for security reasons. No one mentioned they make your feet freeze on the plane and in England, where they mean something different when they say “summer.”

We got to the school van, and Mr. Franks loaded the bags in. I tried to help, I really did, but he just said no, no, no. I was almost certain he was going to have a heart attack, but he survived.

“In you get,” he said. “Door’s open.”

I remembered to get in on the left side, which made me feel very clever for someone who hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours. Mr. Franks wheezed for a minute once he got into the driver’s seat. I cracked my window to release some of the cologne into the wild.

 “It’s all over the news.” Wheeze, wheeze. “Happened up near the Royal Hospital, right off the Whitechapel Road. Jack the Ripper, of all things. Mind you, tourists love old Jack. Going to cause lots of excitement, this. Wexford’s in Jack the Ripper territory.”

He switched on the radio. The news station was on, and I listened as he drove us down the spiral exit ramp.

“. . . thirty-one-year-old Rachel Belanger, a commercial filmmaker with a studio on Whitechapel Road. Authorities say that she was killed in a manner emulating the first Jack the Ripper murder of 1888 . . .

Well, at least that cleared up what “pulling a Jack the Ripper” meant.

“. . . body found on Durward Street, just after four this morning. In 1888, Durward Street was called Bucks Row. Last night’s victim was found in the same location and position as Mary Ann Nichols, the first Ripper victim, with very similar injuries. Chief Inspector Simon Cole of Scotland Yard gave a brief statement saying that while there were similarities between this murder and the murder of Mary Ann Nichols on August 31, 1888, it is premature to say that this is anything other than a coincidence. For more on this, we go to senior correspondent Lois Carlisle . . .

Mr. Franks barely missed the walls as he wove the car down the spiral.

“. . . Jack the Ripper struck on four conventionally agreed upon dates in 1888: August 31, September 8, the ‘Double Event’ of September 30—so called because there were two murders in the space of under an hour—and November 9. No one knows what became of the Ripper or why he stopped on that date . . .

“Nasty business,” Mr. Franks said as we reached the exit. “Wexford is right in Jack’s old hunting grounds. We’re just five minutes from the Whitechapel Road. The Jack the Ripper tours come past all the time. I imagine there’ll be twice as many now.”

We took a highway for a while, and then we were suddenly in a populated area—long rows of houses, Indian restaurants, fish-and-chip shops. Then the roads got narrower and more crowded and we had clearly entered the city without my noticing. We wound along the south side of the Thames, then crossed it, all of London stretched around us.

I had seen a picture of Wexford a hundred times or more. I knew the history. Back in the mid-1800s, the East End of London was very poor. Dickens, pickpockets, selling children for bread, that kind of thing. Wexford was built by a charity. They bought all the land around a small square and built an entire complex. They constructed a home for women, a home for men, and a small Gothic revival church—everything necessary to provide food, shelter, and spiritual guidance. All the buildings were attractive, and they put some stone benches and a few trees in the tiny square so there was a pleasant atmosphere. Then they filled the buildings with poor men, women, and children and made them all work fifteen hours a day in the factories and workhouses that they also built around the square.

Somewhere around 1920, someone realized this was all kind of horrible, and the buildings were sold off. Someone had the bright idea that these Gothic and Georgian buildings arranged around a square kind of looked like a school, and bought them. The workhouses became classroom buildings. The church eventually became the refectory. The buildings were all made of brownstone or brick at a time when space in the East End came cheap, so they were large, with big windows and peaks and chimneys silhouetted against the sky.

 “This is your building here,” Mr. Franks said as the car bumped along a narrow cobblestone path. It was Hawthorne, the girls’ dorm. The word WOMEN was carved in bas-relief over the doorway. Standing right under this, as proof, was a woman. She was short, maybe just five feet tall, but broad. Her face was a deep, flushed red, and she had big hands, hands you’d imagine could make really big meatballs or squeeze the air out of tires. She had a bob haircut that was almost completely square, and was wearing a plaid dress made of hearty wool. Something about her suggested that her leisure activities included wrestling large woodland animals and banging bricks together.

As I got out of the van she called, “Aurora!” in a penetrating voice that could cause a small bird to fall dead out of the sky.

“Call me Claudia,” she boomed. “I’m housemistress of Hawthorne. Welcome to Wexford.”

“Thanks,” I said, my ears still ringing. “But it’s Rory.”

“Rory. Of course. Everything all right, then? Good flight?”

“Great, thank you.” I hurried to the back of the van and tried to get to the bags before Mr. Franks broke his spine in three places hauling them out. Flip-flops and cobblestones do not go well together, however, especially after a rain, when every slight indentation is filled with cold water. My feet were soaked, and I was sliding and stumbling over the stones. Mr. Franks beat me to the back of the car, and grunted as he yanked the bags out.

“Mr. Franks will bring those inside,” Claudia said. “Take them to room twenty-seven, please, Franks.”

“Righto,” he wheezed.

The rain started to patter down lightly as Claudia opened the door, and I entered my new home for the first time.

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Name of the Star 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 235 reviews.
Shanella More than 1 year ago
Take an American girl from Bénouville, Louisiana. Relocate her to a boarding school in London. Throw in a couple of ghosts, a dallop of mystery and a dash of romance and you've got the page-turning, spine-tingling, keeps-you-up-at-night-to-finish-reading-it novel that is The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Rory, has a witty and spunky voice - which I found to be similar to Maureen's Twitter-chatter style. The story opens up with Rory giving the reader a very brief background of her family and home, the reason she decided to go to Wexford, and her arrival at her new school. We meet Claudia, the house mistress, and Charlotte, the head girl - for some reason I blended the two characters in my head and had a bit of trouble sorting them out in the end, however, this isn't pertinent to the tale. We are introduced to Jazza (Rory's cautious roommate), and Jerome (Rory's Ripper-addicted interest, of sorts); both were such fun characters to read that I found myself looking forward to seeing more of them. The main plot is the ghost story/mystery that is weaved throughout. There is a killer on the loose, one who is copying the Jack the Ripper slayings. Yet, in a city with CCTVs everywhere, the killer seems to be invisible to the police; that is, until Rory thinks she spotted someone out and about, near the site of one of the killings. Once she tells the police her story, the plot picks up pace and takes you on a whirlwind adventure with eccentric roommates, mysterious strangers, and so much Jack the Ripper information that you come away feeling well versed on the topic - and a somewhat creepier for it. I love reading Maureen's novels because she is very descriptive about places and situations, so much so that you feel as though you're walking next to the characters - The Name of the Star is written in this fashion. I also enjoyed the bits of family information that Rory litters throughout her narrative; funny little anecdotes to help describe the way she's feeling. One thing that I appreciated about the story is that, compared to other protagonists who have supernatural abilities thrusted upon them, Rory reacts in a very normal and completely expected way. She experiences denial and disbelief in a believable way. The Name of the Star is the first in a trilogy, and while this story ties up a lot of loose-ends, the ending leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and curiosity as to what will happen next. I utterly enjoyed reading it, and highly recommend this to anyone who is a mystery fan. PS - there are no vampires.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I can't begin to express how much I love it when an author takes a classic story and makes it into something I never thought of before. I have also been a big fan of Jack the Ripper. The stories itself have always intrigued me in who this man is. And why he committed the murders he committed? What was the purpose? With Ms. Johnson amazing writing style, I, the reader, am taken back to a place I have never been before, and see things new. I really enjoyed the plot. If anything the plot grabs you and pulls you in. The re-taling of Jack the Ripper gave you goosebumps all over your body! The reason the plot is so amazing is the the flow of it. I like how the reader is slowly introduce to the Jack the Ripper tales and how it weaves itself into Rory's life like a weed. You see it slowly take over her life, and you can't help but hold your breath. The love story in this book totally caught me off guard. While I was caught up with the Jack the Ripper and the murders, I had no idea that a romance had sprung up. I was quite surprised but loved that in the mist of murder and mayhem, that their could be a love after all. If you love a dark, edgy, amazingly written story, read this book. I think Ms. Johnson did an fantastic job on bringing back such a classic tale and putting something new in it. Her characters/plot caught in a way a book has never caught me before. Drowned in a great mystery, The Name of the Star is a book you must read!
hobby-of-reading More than 1 year ago
I'm going to keep this review short and sweet: this book was AMAZING!!!! It had me laughing and wanting to learn more about Jack the Ripper. Although it's a bit gruesome, it wasn't gruesome enough to stop reading the book or lose my apetite! Now please reward yourself with the possesion of this book! Get it and read it!!!!!
Tawni More than 1 year ago
Rippermania. That's all I have to say! I mean - doesn't that draw you in already? This is why I was so excited to start The Name of the Star and I gotta tell ya.it was pretty awesome! I couldn't learn enough about these murders and the ghostly happenings around Rory's school. I loved Rory's character. She was the subtly-strong type and getting to know her was a breeze, which allowed me to enjoy her story more! She was normal.besides the fact that she can see people who aren't really there.or are they?! I really enjoyed that this book had a wide spectrum of friends and foe. There was never a dull moment! Maureen Johnson has fun with her writing, but knows when to get serious. I absolutely loved that she wasn't afraid to write about the Ripper murders and even recreate them - in a way - but still leave out the gory details. Very tastefully done and I appreciate that.believe me I do! Johnson also knows how to keep a reader on the edge of their seats. I was about the pull my own hair out trying to figure out what the heck was going on!! One let down for me was the no-closure-relationship between Rory and Jerome. I loved the light romance, don't get me wrong, but I would've liked to read more or even get some closure. Then again, the series isn't over!! The Name of the Star is a must read for those who love suspense and mystery.oh and a bit of supernatural-ness! ;) It really was a pleasant and refreshing read. Definitely a book that should be nudged up to the top of your reading piles! Review based on ARC
Ranousha More than 1 year ago
The cover: I like this one. It does represent Rory and some place of London. The storyline: Well, well. This was an interesting read. The story begins when Rory, the main character, goes to a boarding school in London, she settles there and meets new friends. Then, while she’s settling, a murder happens, what’s so special about it is that it has the same characteristics of the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper. She starts to fall in love with this boy, Jerome, she met while the murders go on. Then, on the fourth murder, she suddenly becomes the only witness the police has. After interrogating her, she thinks something weird is happening and that’s when she realizes that she’s seeing the ghost of the ripper, because the ripper is a ghost. That’s when she gets a new roommate whose later found to be a police woman protecting Rory. They become friends along with other two guys who explain things to her and tell her that she has a special gift. The ripper shows up again and this time he wants Rory. He goes on threating her and the other two guys until she gives up and go with him. Later on, Boo (the new roommate) sends her “ghost” friend to save Rory. She saves Rory but ends up dead too. At the end, Rory discovers something new and interesting about herself. What I liked: The story has some sense in it. I did like how Maureen included Jack the Ripper in this book and how she described every murder very vividly. The main protagonist, Rory, was brave. And very smart at the beginning. The writing style was good. Not great but good. The characters were good. What I disliked: The pace in the story was killing me. At the beginning, I got very intrigued by the concept of the book, then the flow of the events was going slowly for me. I hated how everything seemed easy to happen or to do in this story. I hated seeing Rory becoming naïve. The ending wasn’t good at all. I expected more in it and thought maybe what didn’t please me in the beginning and the middle of the book will do at the end, I was disappointed. I was disappointed not to find the story horrifying. I was expecting it to scare me to death, unfortunately, it didn’t :(. Why I went for the audiobook eventually: I started reading the e-book first, but when things started to bore me, I decided to get the audiobook, but guess what? Even the amazing English accents didn’t cheer me up :s. So, thanks to the audiobook, I devoured the story whole even though I was going to stop reading it. The characters: Rory is the main protagonist. She’s from the US but goes to a boarding school in England. She’s smart and brave as well as loving and kind. Jerome is the nice guy. He’s been mostly kept out of story because he had no idea what was going on. Jazza is Rory’s first roommate and later best friend. She’s kind, nice and smart too. That’s probably why she and Rory became friends in the first place ^_^. Boo is super cool. She has this funny and cool British accent that I love. She’s been mysterious but later we found out that she’s as nice and cool as Jazza, almost. The other worth mentioning characters are: Stephen and Callum. Conclusion: This could’ve been a great book with the writing style and the characters. Unfortunately, it disappointed me a lot. Will I be reading the sequel? Definitely. The sequel has the potential to be way better and I’m having great expectations about it. Let’s hope I won’t be disappointed agai
harstan More than 1 year ago
Excited teenager Rory Deveaux leaves Benouville, Louisiana bayou to attend the Wexford boarding school in London for a year while her parents Tulane professors on sabbatical are in Britain. However, she finds much of the city is in fear as Rippermania terrorizes the city with what the cops know is a copy cat serial killer. This psychopath has mutilated and murdered several people, but never appears on the security cameras that are in the city. As she struggles with the social customs of the school, Rory meets Jerome and her roommate Jazza. Rory and Jazza are walking together when the Louisiana native notices the killer; her new friend fails to see anything. Rory realizes she sees ghosts that other people and the cameras fail to notice. She tells the police who assume she is a typical American teen. However, the killer notices Rory as a threat and plans to bury her. The key to this young adult paranormal serial killer thriller is the cast, whether they are sightless norms or those who see ghosts, every important player seem genuine. The suspenseful story line is somewhat gory, but jocularity lightens the impact. With satirical asides on the security of the London surveillance network and the new age vamps and weres, readers will enjoy Rory vs. the neo Ripper in the enjoyable opening Shades of London. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my fav books.A great read.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson was a very.... weird read. I honestly thought it was going to be a mystery contemporary book, but I never expected it to have a paranormal twist. The main thing that annoyed me was how unrealistic the events were. I just couldn't understand how this was going to end or even get solved. Not only did I feel like the book was unbelievable, every chapter felt very similar as well. The pace was very slow, and not many exciting events occurred either. Rory, the main protagonist, goes to a boarding school. I love books with a boarding school setting, so I had high hopes for this one. When Rory moves to London to attend her school, there is a murderer there whom they call "The Ripper". Apparently it's all over London, and the killings are horrid. The thing that totally annoyed me is that why couldn't Maureen Johnson just keep it a normal murder mystery that can at least seem realistic? Then the story just gets more confusing when Rory actually sees ghosts, and it turns into a paranormal story. I don't want to have any spoilers in this review, but I will say, I did not like the fact that it had a paranormal twist in it. Overall the writing was good. I would get lost in some parts, but happens very often. The ending was okay, but I don't think i'll ever pick up the sequel to this book. I might not have enjoyed it, but do give it a try!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Rory Deveaux's parents decided a long time ago that it would be good for all of them to spend some time living outside of Louisiana which is how Rory finds herself arriving at a London boarding school the September of her senior year while her parents begin a teaching sabbatical in Bristol. Rory isn't sure what to expect of England much less her English school--especially when she finds out she will be playing hockey every single day as part of her curriculum. Rory's expectations become unimportant soon enough when something strange happens. Someone is killing London women and mimicking the gruesome crimes of Jack the Ripper--the notorious killer who terrorized London in the autumn of 1888 without ever being captured or even identified. The modern-day murders leave few leads. Nothing shows up on camera. No one sees anything. Still the murders continue as "Rippermania" grips the city. In the midst of the murders something even stranger happens to Rory. She sees a man the night before a body is found on school grounds. Rory knows what she saw. But her roommate was with her and saw nothing. It can't be coincidence. But can it really be the New Ripper? An outsider in every way, Rory soon finds herself at center of the investigation of the Ripper murders. As she learns more about the crimes and the suspect, Rory learns she is also at the center of something else--something stranger and possibly much more dangerous in The Name of the Star (2011) by Maureen Johnson. The Name of the Star is the first book in Johnson's Shades of London series. Starting with details from the original Ripper murders, Johnson creates a tense mystery all her own in The Name of the Star. Suspense blends with the supernatural as Rory learns more about the Ripper (new and old) and also about her own strange connection to the investigation. Rory is a completely likable, authentic heroine. Her take on London and English boarding school, colored by her Southern sensibilities, adds much needed wit and humor to what could have been an otherwise horribly grim story.By the middle of the novel Johnson turns everything upside down taking the story in a surprising direction and introducing many of my favorite characters.* In addition to her usual humor, Johnson keeps the writing her tense building suspense to nearly unbearable levels by the last quarter of the novel. In addition to being a mystery with a unique setting, The Name of the Star is filled with twists and not a few surprises that will keep readers guessing well past the last page--not to mention leaving readers extremely eager for the next Shades of London book. The Name of the Star is an exceptional start to what I fully expect to be a brilliant series. *Team Stephen forever! In all seriousness though, I think the latter half of the novel is more indicative of the direction the series will take in the next book and I'm really excited to see if I'm right. Reading more about Stephen is just an added bonus. Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
enticed More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the name of the star. very hard to put down and intriguing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ahmazing believe me first of all im moving to london after i read the book to fight ghost and completly fall in love with stephen because he just needs somebody to love and rory eh she was ahdorable but the true killer at the end of the book stole the whole story and kept me on the edge of my seat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and entertaining take on Jack the Ripper. With the murderer following the same timeline as the in 1888, I was kept in suspence waiting to see what would happen just as the characters were. The dialogue and Rory's internal voice had me laughing at parts. For those who left comments about the story not being realistic, all I can say is, really? I also liked that there was an end to this book. No huge cliff-hanger leaving a reader feeling unfulfilled, just the potential for more adventure. It is definitely worth reading and recommending to friends. I am excited to see Rory's story continuing with the next book due out in Feb!
Lola-Liona More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It had just a hint of sass and teenage humor(Example: "You told him I had Period Fever!") but I have to be honest and say that the cover was what first caught my eye. It was a modern twist on a classic tale that anyone who enjoys humor, mystery, teenage romance, and a slight bit of horror. Not to mention I LOVE how Maureen Johnson wrote their accents! I was dying!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good in the beggining but then it got a little far fetched/wierd. If you like ghosts and creepy stuff you will like this book,if you dont then this might not be the book for you.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
At first I was afraid this was another one of those books where the girl gets conked in the head and she's magically taken back to Merry Olde England during the Jack the Ripper times. In fact its nothing of the sort and its a truly wonderful book about Rory and her life at a boarding school in London. I love how Ms. Johnson really makes you feel part of the setting. I found out so much more about how school are in England and what all goes on over there. I really like how she weaves in stories from the original Jack the Ripper murders in the 1800's in with the ones going on in modern day London. Rory is such a spunky, bright girl and I was laughing so much at her view on things. I think the romance is so nice between her and Jerome. I love how Ms Johnson's writing can make you get that giddy first love feel for him too. I really loved Rory's roommate Jezza. She's sweet and yet she will do anything for Rory. This is a definite must-read for anyone who likes some history, mystery and a little romance all thrown into one roller coaster of 372 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like an entertaining episode of Doctor Who. Swings a bit too hard from normal YA to paranormal sci-fi early on, but finds a sweet middle-ground. Light mystery enough to keep reader engaged and satisfied when connections are made. Recommended reading. Would suggest to friends.
ericajsc on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I¿ve read most of Maureen Johnson¿s books, and I always find them to be chock full of entertaining characters and memorable moments. However, my one difficulty has always been the aftermath of the book; when I¿d try to summarize the book for someone in order to encourage them to read it, I was nearly always at a loss at how to describe the story. (Granted I¿ll never win awards for my book-summarizing skills, but still, I have particular trouble trying to convince someone these books are as good as they are.) This is not the case with this book. The Name of the Star has a perfect blend of captivating characters and engaging plot. Rory is new not only to her school but to England itself, but she quickly finds a handful of good friends among her classmates. It¿s not surprising given that she has a good sense of humor and amusing personality. As panic grips London in the wake of this copycat killer, Rory and her friends just want to live normal lives ¿ a difficult thing to do when the school is right in the killer¿s path. Because of the close proximity of the murders, the school is forced to make changes in order to keep the students safe, which only helps to feed their Rippermania. Rory unwittingly becomes involved with the police after witnessing something when she sneaks out one night, yet she can¿t help but feel that something is slightly off with the way they interact with her. What she discovers leads her on a nail-biting journey through (and underneath) London¿s streets in order to prevent anyone ¿ including herself - from becoming the next victim.It¿s intense, see, but it¿s still very much a Maureen Johnson book. There are parts that made me laugh, parts that made me want to go back to England, and parts that were so riveting that I couldn¿t put the book down. This has quickly become my favorite Maureen Johnson book, and I think that it will be a great introduction of her work to an even wider audience than her previous books have given.
ethel55 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Wow, Maureen Johnson has outdone herself again. What seems to begin as a fish out of water tale turns quickly into a somewhat frightening, evenly paced story. Rory arrives in London to attend the Wexford boarding school while her parents spend the year teaching in nearby Bristol. Her roommate, Jazza seems nice enough. Charlotte,the prefect type, is about what you'd expect. There's cute boys in the other dorm. It all seems to set up like a run of the mill boarding school tale until murder hits the Wexford area and Jack the Ripper hysteria sweeps London. Perhaps Rory being from Louisiana (with its' many tales of witchcraft and voodoo) is a very important plot point as she feels she saw someone the police can't quite find. Johnson takes many turns in this story and I enjoyed it very much.
dizzyweasel on LibraryThing 22 days ago
The Name of the Star was a quick and entertaining paranormal thriller. Rory Deveaux comes to the Wexford School in London, suffers a near-death experience, and then discovers that she can see people that others cannot. She soon learns that she is one of a handful of people in the world to develop a second sight - she can see ghosts. When a Jack the Ripper copycat, who cannot be seen on film, throws London into terror, Rory sees the killer. He's a ghost. Together with London's 'ghost police', The Shades, she must race to stop the killer and save her own life.The Name of the Star is populated with neatly drawn characters who feel differentiated, with sketched in back stories, and do not just serve as backdrops for the heroine. Each character serves a purpose and most are people you would actually enjoy knowing. The pacing is quick, the language is modern, and the story has humor to punctuate the moments of terror and occasional gore. The 'ghost police' angle is unique among YA lit right now, though Johnson may start a new trend here. The Ripper copycat story was frightening and titillating - I'm looking forward to future books in the series to see what other killers and mysteries of yore Johnson takes up. There's so much potential here for other 'ghost police' adventures. Another thing I appreciate: a YA novel that is not just a romance with paranormal window dressing. There was actually a plot. It was entertaining. The minimal romance between Rory and a school friend took the backseat to the Ripper storyline. There are hints of a future romance for Rory with another character, but this is not explored in book 1. The cliffhanger also left me interested in continuing the story. I'll be keeping an eye on Maureen Johnson's work.
hrose2931 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I was so excited to get a copy of this from Early Reviewers. This is the first Maureen Johnson book I've read but I'm going to get everything she's ever written. I absolutely loved this thriller. The paranormal element of this just added to the awesome. I'm not going to do a full on review, I'm saving it for closer to the time when the book is going to be released but Maureen Johnson knows Southern. And she knows humor and teenagers. And she really knows how to tell a creepy story. If this one was set in the South instead of a London boarding school I'd almost call it Gothic. But the characters are too funny and lively. Here are some of my favorite quotes that I hope make it to the book:"I decided to deflect her attitude by giving her a long Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southerner and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death." (p. 24) "She ran up and down the field with that stick like a thing born to run up and down the field with a stick." (p. 149)"I was learning all kinds of things in London, mostly about ****** and flags and disbanded girl groups, but still. Learning is good. (p.217)I put the stars in for fear the word would giveaway something.Anyway, you can see Maureen Johnson's humor. It's sprinkled throughout with a little bit of romance, a lot of thrill and like I said some great characters. I hope she's got book two ready!
24girl on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Coming from a small town in Louisiana to a boarding school in London to complete her senior year, Rory Deveaux definitely feels out of place in her new school but she quickly becomes friends with her roommate and things start to look up. That is until a Jack the Ripper copy cat keeps striking closer and closer to home and on the night of one of the murders Rory comes face to face with the murder but she's the only one who sees him. Will he be coming after her next?This is my first book by Maureen Johnson. I wasn't even aware that it was a YA novel but that quickly became clear with it's predictability. That aside it really had enough suspense and intrigue to make it a quick enjoyable read. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves suspense with a light sprinkling of paranormal. I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this Shades of London Trilogy.
molliekay on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Maureen Johnson has deviated from her typical fare of fiction by producing a brilliant piece of supernatural work. Rory is a Louisiana teenager who decides to spend her last year of high school enrolled in a private school in London. Her arrival coincides with the first strike of a Jack the Ripper copycat killer. She sees the killer late one night, a man no one else can see. The only question in her mind is, "When will he come after me?" Filled with creepy foggy London nights, ghost sightings, and terrifying murders, this is not a story to read in the dark, but it is one that you must absolutely get your hands on.
Grabbag on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Louisiana native Rory relocates to London to attend a boarding school while her parents are on sabbatical in the United Kingdom, but she ends up in the middle of a modern-day paranormal Jack the Ripper situation. What a fabulous novel! Maureen Johnson gives Rory a very funny personality, in juxtaposition to the typical dry British humor. Each character has distinct voice and mannerisms that come through even in the shortest of scenes. I want to be friends with each of Johnson's characters; they're that likeable! The story moves along smoothly. Though the action doesn't start until after a quarter of the way in, I still couldn't put it down. The characters really pull you through the story. My only problem is with the cover. Horrible choice and absolutely irrelevant to the story. (The only red-head is a prefect who has a menial role throughout the novel, and the killer does not wear a top hat. Ever.)
B00KAH0LIC on LibraryThing 22 days ago
When Rory moves from a small town in Louisiana to a boarding school in London the city is going wild over a murder similar to Jack the Ripper's first murder. It soon becomes clear Jack the Ripper's attacks are happening all over again. Rory is getting used to boarding school life with a roommate and a cute boy when she becomes the only witness to have possibly seen the murderer. But is there a reason she is the only witness? He was right there and her roommate never noticed him. Was it only her imagination? Before she knows it, Rory's world has been drastically changed and her life is at risk. This book is crazy! It's intense with a great mystery that's scary, and there's even romance! I had never read anything on Jack the Ripper before, but now I feel quite farmilar with his story. Really, I don't know much on the topic, but I think Maureen did a great job researching! I actually had a grusome dream because of the book. The amount of action through the scenes in the book worked great. All I wanted to do was read this book until I finished it. Rory was great! The main character of a book will get on my nerves, but she felt real in a not annoying way. Her reactions to everything saw she and found out was perfect, especially since I can imagine how hard her reactions would be to write. I enjoyed all of the characters. Jerome was okay, I didn't dislike him, but I would rather her be with Stephen. I really like Stephen! But I also have a thing for cops. The balance between the characters felt right, I mean, no one was only appealing or only annoying. They all had well developed personalities. And, of course, Ripper was creepy!Maureen is a writer I am always entertained by. I always want to read more by her, whether it's books or Tweets. She is funny and has crazy ideas. My curiosity to hear what will happen to her characters next continues. I am dying to read the next book!
brittanygold on LibraryThing 22 days ago
For me to love a book it takes a lot. The Name of the Star was a book that I LOVED. It had everything from romance to humor to suspense. Maureen Johnson wrote an amazing book. With its great plot line and details, you never want to put the book down. I would know because I read it in one sitting. I can not wait to read more about the characters and see how the plot will unfold after the cliffhanger The Name of the Star left off with in future books in this series. This is a great book for those who love YA books. I would recommend this to all my friends.