Review: The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson

The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (September 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399256601
Rating: ♥♥♥
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.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses.
Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

The Name of the Star is a novel that I have been eagerly anticipating. Since I have a penchant for all things Gothic, twisted and romantic I figured that this new book by the most awesome Maureen Johnson would suit my tastes perfectly. Yet, despite it's premise, location and gusty protagonist I could not seem to fully engage with The Name of the Star. It was as if the final piece of the puzzle was missing and no matter how hard I tried, could not seem to find it.

The Name of the Star begins interesting enough with Rory Deveaux deciding to leave her home in Louisiana and move to England for her final year of high school to join her parents whom are on sabbatical in England. Both locations are well detailed giving us a great footing in understanding on whom Rory is, where she came from and to the new adventure that she is now embarking on. As Rory begins to adjust to her new life a signifigant incident changes Rory forever (unbeknownst to her) until she is able to witness something that her roommate cannot. What ensues next involves a secret society, a new romance and a crazed mad man that wants to make sure that Rory does "see" him anymore. *shudders*

With a premise like that how can one not be drawn in. This story just screams "CHILLER" and believe me there were a few moments that I was seriously clenching my book. Any time that I wicked bad guy hit the pages I could feel my blood run cold, his character was wicked evil and well written, but the story that he inhabited could not seem to keep it from hitting moments of boredom. I found that it took a bit of time for the story to pick up speed and while I enjoyed getting all the details on Rory and her new school, friends and enemies...I believed that it seemed a bit excessive and that it slowed the story down. I kept up with it because I have read Maureen's other novels and I know she is amazing so I was willing to stick with it. Towards the end the story did pick up considerable speed but by that point I was a bit put off.

The Name of the Star is good read with solid moments of terror, laughter and lush settings to set you on edge and make you question those items that move and are unexplained, but it is a bit slow and could have used a bit of tightening up to make this novel really shine.


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