I just finished reading Maureen Johnson's novel The Name of the Star, and I'm still living off the small high that a fast-paced, dramatic book produces. While I'll admit this wasn't the greatest book I've ever read, I was (for the most part) pleased with it.
Rory Deveaux is a Louisiana native who transfers to a boarding school in London after her professor parents decide to take a sabbatical in Bristol. While trying to deal with the challenges of attending a new school, far from her friends, family, and even her parents, London is sent into a panic as a series of murders, mimicking the infamous "Jack the Ripper" murders of 1888, are committed not far from her school. Worse yet, Rory discovers that she knows who the killer is--and she's the only one who can see him. The Ripper now sets his sights on her, to make sure that no one discovers his identity.
For the most part, this was an interesting book. I've always had a bit of an interest in the macabre, and Jack the Ripper would comfortably under that topic. Although, I'll admit that I've never actually read much about Jack the Ripper. In fact, the historical tidbits mentioned in the novel encompass most of what I know about him. When it comes to historical serial killers, I've been more interested in the fact and lore surrounding the historical Sweeney Todd. Still, I'm a bit curious now to read a bit more about Jack since I read this novel.
I loved the premise of The Name of the Star. I mean, Jack the Ripper murders, ghosts...it just sounds so deliciously interesting. However, I was a bit put off by how "teen" this novel was. I mean, the whole beginning dealt with how Rory was such an average teenager with so many social issues, and blah blah blah. I've read enough teen novels when I was a teen to find myself bogged down in every character's struggle to find herself. I feel bad saying that, but it's true. Furthermore, I found some aspects of the story to be highly unbelievable-- and I'm not talking about Jack the Ripper ghosts.
Despite its flaws, this was an interesting read, and one that I would prolly recommend. Also, since it's a part of a series, I'm really tempted to look up the other books, once they're published.