29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, 372 pages, read by Courtney, on 02/28/2012

Rory is a small town girl from the American South. For her senior year, she decides to join her parents as they travel to England on sabbatical. Her parents head for Bristol while Rory moves into a boarding school in the middle of London. The day she arrives, murders begin taking place around the neighborhood, each bearing a striking resemblance to the the murders performed by the infamous Jack the Ripper. Each murder takes place on the anniversary of one of the Ripper murders; in the same locations as well. Even though London is a city full of cameras tracking the populace’s every move, none of cameras managed to capture the culprit. The police are baffled and the entire country is on alert. In between making new friends and attempting to manage overwhelming coursework, Rory sneaks out of her dorm with her roommate on one of the murder nights. On her way back into the dorm, she meets a mysterious man on the school grounds. Minutes later, another body is found; this time on campus. Rory is now the only witness; her friend never saw the man. And now Rory might be a target.
I must say that this book isn’t exactly what I expected. When I heard “Jack the Ripper”, I just thought “historical fiction”, which clearly wasn’t the case. I loved the first half of the book and enjoyed Rory as a character. The second half started to make me wonder if the exposition was the high point. The action does pick up substantially, though some of the twists are predictable. The ending wasn’t particularly satisfying to me. I was more than a little disappointed about the “why” of Ripper’s actions and felt like it was a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The ending clearly paves the way for a sequel, but I’m not really sure where the series will go from here.

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