Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Name of the Star Review

By: Maureen Johnson
Published: September 29th 2011 by HarperCollins

Goodreads Description:

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.

My thoughts

Wow. There were so many things I loved about this book. It's not what I usually go for, but it was recommended to me and I liked it straight away, just because it was £1 in Waterstone's. Plus the main character was called Rory, and I totally judged a book by its cover (I love the name Rory).

In the first few pages, the writing style actually frustrated me. I thought at first that it was being written by an English person trying to write from an American's point of view. It was only those first few pages though, and then I forgot anything about what I thought. (I also discovered that Maureen Johnson is American so maybe that made me forget.) Overall though, I loved the writing style. I liked Rory's voice and how Johnson told the story from her point of view, and I think she did a good job of writing a believable teenager who was a bit out of her depth in another country.

I loved Rory as a character, too. She was strong, independent and proved from the start that she could stick up for herself. I liked her sense of humour. I liked Jazza too, although her problem with Charlotte did bore me a bit. I loved the easy relationship between Rory and Jazza. I felt a personal connection to their friendship because it reminded me of my relationship with my friend Keeley, who's from Iowa. A favourite America vs. England conversation of theirs has to be;

‎'I feel quite boring next to you.' Jazza Said.
'Boring?' I repeated. 'You're English.'
'Yes. That's not very interesting.'
'You...have a cello! And dogs! And you live in a farmhouse...kind of thing. In a village.'
'Again, that's not very exciting. I love our village, but we're all quite...normal.'
'In our town,' I say solemnly, 'that would make you a kind of God.'

It's very similar to conversations I've had with Keeley in the past, so I laughed reading it. As for the rest of the characters; I liked Jerome, and their relationship was set up really early on in the story, so I was a bit disappointed that he sort of dwindled out and wasn't really involved in the end. I thought he would have had a bit more of a storyline. I liked Stephen and Callum, and the fact they brought a bit more emotional depth into their stories than Boo did. Boo was just...Boo. I figured out almost straight away who/what she was, so I think that spoiled it a bit for me when it came to the big reveal about the squad.

My biggest problem with the characters had to be Charlotte. I personally didn't see anything wrong with Charlotte, other than that she was a bit of a bitch. But who isn't? The first couple of chapters seemed to be setting her up as a bit of a villain, as did the way Jazza and Jerome talked about her. Again, her part seemed to fizzle out as the story went on, until the end. Sure, she was annoying and got in peoples' way, but I didn't really see any reason for Jazza to go on about her like she did, other than petty jealousy. Hmm, maybe that's just my opinion? I don't know.

The story was really clever. I learned a thing or two through reading it. I've never really learned anything about Jack the Ripper, so it was interesting to find out more about him. I think the parallel between the two cases was great. The idea that they knew exactly when are where the murders were going to happen was pretty scary, especially towards the end when they were trapped inside the school. The ghosts were really interesting, and I liked the idea of the squad and how they were able to see them; that added more depth to the story and the characters, because like Rory, I wanted to know what had happened to them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed it and spent pretty much all day yesterday reading it, because I wanted to know what happened. The end made me sad though, although it was understandable. I can't wait for the next one now! 

I give this book 4/5.

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