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Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Johnson’

The Name of the Star – A Review

Posted on July 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

This is the story of a girl from Louisiana who goes by the name Rory. Her parents accept a job in Bristol, England and so Rory decides she wants to go to a boarding school in London for her final year of high school. The school she chooses happens to be in the area where Jack the Ripper murdered several people in the late 1800′s. When the killings begin again, on the same dates, with all of the details as exactly like the originals as they can be, the entire city of London is thrown into chaos. No one knows who the original Jack the Ripper was, so who could this new Ripper possibly be? Rory discovers she can see and talk to a strange man her roommate cannot see or hear. What does it mean? Who is the strange bald man? And just who exactly is the third roommate in Rory’s room who arrived late in the semester, almost ruining the bond she’d formed with her first roommate?  Will Rory escape the wrath of the Ripper alive? Or will she become one of his victims?

This book was amazing! It was recommended to me shortly after it first came out and I just never got around to reading it until now. I should have. I should have picked it up right then and there and started reading. On the inside cover of the paperback, YA author Ally Carter, is quoted as calling it “unputdownable”. Granted, that’s not a real word, but in this case, I think we’ll let that slide. This book WAS unputdownable! I loved the new/fresh setting, as I rarely read books set in England, or maybe there just aren’t that many YA books set there. I wouldn’t want to live there (hate cold and rain too much!) but visiting via a good book is perfect. I also liked her portrayal of all the characters. They’re realistic without going over the top. Usually books that revolve around a school have the popular kids with their noses stuck in the air and too many groups and cliques. This didn’t. Not to that degree anyway. I enjoyed the relationship Rory has with her first roommate, and the relationship that eventually grows with her third, as they live in a room meant for three. And I liked how the murderer is not who you think he is. Ever. I kept changing my mind, changing it back again, only to change it to something else a second later. The ending was not predictable and was very satisfying. What a rush!

In short, I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good murder mystery. Even with a paranormal twist, it seemed very realistic. Fantastic reading.

My Summer Reading List for 2013!

Posted on May 25th, 2013 by Anna in Books

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Once again, I have decided to select a few books to read over the summer and then post my book reviews here. What makes this so different than my usual book review posts? The main thing is that I’m telling you ahead of time what I’ll be reading. The second thing is that I have selected a total of eight books (the same number I read last year) to read within the months of June, July, and August, which is a lot more than I usually read and review in a single month the rest of the year.  Also, these books are usually somehow related to the summer reading lists that you teens will be reading from yourselves. If they’re not currently on a summer list, they might have been last year, or they’re simply a teen book I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

So without further ado, here’s the list:

Fiction

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier*

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

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Redwall: The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques

He appears out of thin air and vanishes just as quickly. He is Zwilt the Shade, and he is evil. Yet he is no match for his ruler, Vilaya the Sable Quean. Along with their hordes of vermin, these two have devised a plan to conquer Redwall Abbey.

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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.

 

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (The first book in the trilogy, Foundation, will be the primary focus of my reading. If time permits I might very well dive into the other two books.)

A THOUSAND-YEAR EPIC, A GALACTIC STRUGGLE, A MONUMENTAL WORK IN THE ANNALS OF SCIENCE FICTION

FOUNDATION begins a new chapter in the story of man’s future. As the Old Empire crumbles into barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists must create a new entity, the Foundation-dedicated to art, science, and technology-as the beginning of a new empire.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein*

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

Non-Fiction

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Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer by Chely Wright

Chely Wright, singer, songwriter, country music star, writes in this moving, telling memoir about her life and her career; about growing up in America’s heartland, the youngest of three children; about barely remembering a time when she didn’t know she was different.

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Secretariat by William Nack

In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest thoroughbred in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. This book is an acclaimed portrait that examines the legacy of one of ESPN’s “100 Greatest Athletes of the Century”: the only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated all in the same week.

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Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman

A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

*These two books have been chosen by the TBOM group as their book reads for July and August.

The Name of the Star – A Review

Posted on April 28th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

name of the star

The Name of the Star by: Maureen Johnson

Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern

Maureen Johnson’s novel, The Name of the Star, is narrated by an American high school girl named Rory, who travels to England with her parents for her senior year of high school. Rory decides to attend school in the city of London at a boarding school called Wexford. While receiving an excellent education at her new school and meeting a great friend in Jazza and a potential boyfriend in Jerome, she also receives an ability that allows her to see ghosts after a near death experience from Wexford’s cafeteria food. She receives this new ability at the same time the city of London faces a modern age Jack the Ripper killer. The result is that she becomes the most important witness in London during an incredible time of fear because she has seen the new ripper who has actually been dead for decades.

If you enjoy mysteries, historical fiction, science fiction, ghost stories, romance, action, and unexpected twists in what you read, then you must read The Name of the Star! It has elements of all these genres. It’s a fast paced book that will lead you literally into an underground world of London that exists but the people and things inside may or may not. I just have one question for you:  Do you believe in ghosts? Because after reading this book, you might.