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.