Book Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
(Shades of London #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 2011
Buy it at IndieBound and Amazon
Audience: Young Adult
Source: Purchased by Reviewer

I'd love to say that I picked up this book for reasons other than my strange fascination, which at times MIGHT have bordered on obsession, with Jack the Ripper, but I can't. I've read other books on Jack the Ripper and may have even stayed up and watched History Channel shows that I've DVR'd. Here's the thing: I've learned that I might know more than the average person about Jack, and that serial killers might not be a topic that is appropriate at Girl's Night, or even the dinner table. So, kudos to you, Maureen Johnson, for giving me an appropriate way to approach the subject of Jack the Ripper. I was appreciative of the actual historical events that were worked into the the story and even the reference to Walter Sickert (if you aren't a Ripper fanatic you won't get this reference).

Rory Deveaux embarks on a new chapter in her life when she enrolls in a boarding school in London, England. I almost can't fault the small town girl from Louisiana for not being completely aware that her new school is in the Whitechapel district where the most infamous and heinous crimes were committed by Jack the Ripper. I mean, do kids even tell ghost stories, or Ripper stories anymore? Or, are they all desensitized to the horrors of the past? Rory is swept up into "Rippermania" as soon as she gets to school. There is a copycat killer recreating Jack's famous crimes and her new life just landed her right in the middle of Jack's old stomping grounds. I have to say, I'd run like the devil himself was chasing me, but not Rory, she stays and tries to fit in with her new classmates. But Rory will never fit in. She is seeing people that nobody else is seeing, and the worst part? She might have seen the killer.

I can't wait for the next installment of the series. Johnson has a unique way of spinning a story and I really enjoyed the premise of The Name of the Star. I hoping for a little more horror in the next one!

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.


  1. Great review, Tiffany. I read this one too and loved it. I also think Jack the Ripper is a fascinating historical figure. I think the intrigue of still not knowing who he was for sure is what makes his story linger for me. I am looking forward to book #2 in this series.

  2. I think I want to read this now, and I was not planning to before reading your review. I think I'll give it a try and see what I think. I am not a fan of horror movies at all, and don't read scary books. This doesn't sound scary though, and I admit to an interest in Jack the Ripper myself, just because I love history.


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