The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

by Milan L.

Jack the Ripper. It’s a name that sparks interest—and sometimes even fear—in people’s minds.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson follows the story of Rory, a girl from Louisiana, who attends a boarding school in London. Just around the time she arrives there, a series of murders begin; murders that are very similar to the Jack the Ripper murders of the 1800s.

You would think that with modern technology and the developed police force, London authorities would be able to find the killer quickly. The odd thing? They can’t. Even with London’s video surveillance, the murder cannot be seen.

Rory, of course, is curious about the murders. And, like any other main character in a murder mystery, begins to figure out who is doing the murdering.

The police begin to believe that Rory is the only person who has seen the killer’s face, posing a problem for her because she can’t quite recall what he looks like. And then a huge twist is added to the story that changes just about everything.

I enjoyed this book. It isn’t your typical murder mystery, and I think the concept of a modern day “Ripper” is quite interesting. Most importantly, though, is the fact that The Name of the Star definitely has that ‘creepy’ feeling required for a good murder mystery. It is one of those books you can’t help but get immersed in. The Name of the Star is the first in a projected trilogy, but I am happy to report that it does have closure. I’m really excited to see what the author will come up with for the next book!

The story is a bit slow moving, especially in the beginning, since a large chunk of it is Rory getting settled into boarding school. It is plot driven more than character driven; I wasn’t able to totally relate to any of the characters. I liked them well enough, but they still felt a little bit detached to me.

Overall, I’d give The Name of the Star four out of five stars. Though it has faults, the spookiness and originality make it definitely worth the read.

Milan L. is an aspiring writer who loves horses, books, and anything else involving animals. She’s known on figment as “Pippa Sky Destry”, to her parents and sister as “Milan”, and to her beloved cat as a chew toy. She lives in a university town and enjoys spending time with friends and horses, reading, and making jewelry out of paperclips.


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