Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson-- I couldn't decide if I liked it or not

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

Rory, a girl from the swamp of Lousiana, moves to London to attend Wexford boarding school.  Just as she arrives, a series of Jack the Ripper murders begin happening.  Someone (or something) is killing women by reenacting the killings of Saucy Jack over 100 years later.

The entire city is a-buzz with this news-- fear grips the school, but the students are assured that they are safe.  Until Rory unwittingly has a run-in with the bad guy moments before a killing occurs.  When Rory finds out she may be his next target, precautions are taken-- but will they be enough?

I'm starting to think that Maureen Johnson and I aren't going to make it.  I read Truly, Devious last month and I wasn't much of a fan. I had heard so many good things about this series, so I decided to jump in and see if I would like it better-- meh.  I guess I liked it a little better (because we DID get a pay-off in this one!!), but I went through major ups and downs while reading it.

In this book, we have Rory, a girl from Louisiana who moves to London and begins attending a boarding school.  Just as she arrives, copycat Jack the Ripper crimes start happening, throwing all of London into a panic and a party??  It kind of seemed like more people were excited about women getting brutally killed than they were horrified??  There were all these people buying "I survived" and Jack memorabilia and throwing Ripper parties.  Basically, the vibe in London in this book was not appropriate.

Rory gets caught up in the crimes by accidentally having a conversation with the killer-- and that's really all the synopsis goes into.  This is a rather old book, so I am going to vaguely talk about what happens after the main twist-- so just be aware of that if you haven't read this book and want to avoid ALL spoilers.

At this point, Rory finds out that she "sees dead people".  She gets a police escort named Boo (real name Bhuvana Chodhari).  Maybe I'm off on this, but dealing with ghosts and having a person named Boo--- that just feels lazy to me??  Anyway, Boo is there to keep Rory safe because Boo works with a special ghost division of the police force.  It's basically 3 people who can see ghosts and are sent out when ghosts act up.

Despite her lazy name, Boo ended up being the only character I liked.  She was fun in a typical teenager kind of way and I liked the way her personality showed through even when she was trying to be undercover.  The roommate, a girl named Jazza, and the love interest (Jerome), didn't wow me in any way.  It was nice that they were welcoming to Rory, but they didn't NEED to be in the book.

And that's basically my whole opinion of the book.  I liked it at times-- found it exciting and interesting, but then other times it dragged and dragged.  It took me a week just to muster up enough energy to get through the middle part.  That may be a little bit my fault.  I don't like the whole SURPRISE, GHOSTS! thing.  It worked a little better in this book, especially towards the end, but usually a surprise ghost element isn't a good thing in a book for me.  I need warning.

The ending was interesting and it has me curious about the second book.  It ends with a twist (and it has actual conclusions, unlike Truly, Devious), so I'm thinking about seeing where that goes.  It's not that I think this author isn't a good writer-- I just think her stories maybe aren't the best fit for me.

OVERALL: I had ups and downs with this book-- thrilled at times, but so bored at others.  While I eventually came around to the twist, I just don't like ghosts thrown in without knowing about it in advance.  I don't really recommend this book, but if you like true-crime and supernatural, this is probably worth a try for you.

Date Published: 9/28/2011
How I got this book: Purchased
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (HarperCollins)

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3/5

Character: Boo Chodhari
Book: The Pretty Little Liars series

  • I think Boo is the kind of girl who would enjoy a guilty pleasure book like the ones in this series.  She's always reading celebrity gossip sites when she's supposed to be pretending to be a student-- I relate to this so hard.


  1. It doesn't sound like I'd like this much either, but good to know since I read Truly, devious over the summer and was wondering if I wanted to try any of her other books. If I do I'll pick a different one than this one.

    I like the What The Characters Are reading too- that's pretty neat. :)

  2. I actually really enjoyed this series which is why I read TRULY DEVIOUS (which was a flop for me!) and was surprised when I was so disappointed by it. I think I liked the overall vibe a lot and this series feels like it takes on the whole YA super natural trope in a new way (plus I loved the mixture of the deep Southern roots of the MC with the cold, rainy London vibe- both spooky in their own unique ways).

  3. Hmmm, I have this book, but have yet to read it. I usually DNF uneven books, because they don't grab me.

  4. I think I liked the overall vibe a lot and this series feels like it takes on the whole YA super natural trope in a new way plus I loved the mixture of the deep Southern roots with cold A team of lawyers that solved your cases Family law Court marriage with all legal protection Christian marriage Proxy or contract marriage

  5. Hmmmm... I've heard such mixed things about this book, but I do enjoy true crime so maybe I would like it. Awesome review as always :)

    Megan @

  6. I've been intrigued by Maureen Johnson's new mystery series, but I did not like 13 Little Blue Envelopes so I've been very hesitant to pick them up.