Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

It's taken me a while to get round to writing this review. Not because I was unenthusiastic about the book, on the contrary, I want to do it justice, because it's actually really, really good.

This first book in the new Shades of London series sees sixteen year old American student Rory Deveaux travel to England to attend an exclusive boarding school in modern-day Whitechapel. As we know, Whitechapel is Jack the Ripper territory, and it so happens that Rory's arrival coincides with a brutal killing in the area, with all the hallmarks of the Ripper himself. Rapidly, Ripper fever takes over, but with no witnesses, and CCTV footage which shows the victim being murdered, but not the murderer, events become more serious than anyone imagined.

In the midst of the chaos, Rory realises that she has seen the killer, when no-one else was able to, and that he knows she saw him. Luckily, help arrives in an unexpected form and the race is on to stop the murderer before he silences Rory and strikes again.

Author of the acclaimed '13 Little Blue Envelopes', Maureen Johnson has turned her talents to the paranormal  with this new book, and what talents she has! While we are drowning in a sea of paranormal romance, Johnson has managed to write voices that stand out from the crowd and a plot that keeps you guessing until the last page. Rory is a joy of a character; feisty and funny, it's like Georgia Nicolson has been dropped into the murky backstreets of Jack the Ripper's London and is loving every minute. I can't wait for book two!

Age group 13+
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books 29/09/2011

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