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The Name of the Star (The Shades of London…

The Name of the Star (The Shades of London Book 1) (edition 2011)

by Maureen Johnson (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8341685,855 (3.97)49
Title:The Name of the Star (The Shades of London Book 1)
Authors:Maureen Johnson (Author)
Info:Speak (2011), 387 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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    Caramellunacy: For those interested in different takes on Jack the Ripper. Pastworld is a thriller set in a dystopian future where London has been turned into a Victorian-era theme park - complete with an eerie serial killer. Name of the Star is a modern/paranormal take on a new set of Jack the Ripper murders as experienced by an American teen studying abroad in Whitechapel.… (more)

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Rory Deveaux, Louisiana teenager, comes to London to attend boarding school while her law professor parents are spending a year teaching at Bristol. She is excited to be experiencing English boarding schools for herself. Her boarding school happens to be in the same area that was terrorized by Jack the Ripper in 1888. Now it looks like Jack is back. Someone is recreating the murders despite the prevalence of CCTV cameras all over London.

Naturally, Rory and her friends are fascinated by these crimes but Rory never expects to be the only witness to one of the murders. Especially since her roommate Jazza didn't see the man even though she was with her. It doesn't take long for Rory to be swept into a world she didn't know about. She learns about a special part of the London police who deal with ghosts. It seems that sometimes, when a teenager has a near death experience, they come back able to see ghosts. Rory didn't think choking on a chunk of beef would have those consequences.

I liked the character of Rory. She was self-confident, brave, and had a quirky sense of humor. I liked her friends Jazza and Jerome. Though I didn't really buy the romance between Rory and Jerome despite the amount of "snogging" the two of them did. I liked the mystery aspect of the story, too, and thought the tension built nicely to a powerful climax. I thought her police friends -- Stephen, Callum, and Boo -- were well-drawn characters with distinct personalities.

Fans of boarding schools, mysteries, ghosts, and Jack the Ripper will enjoy this story. I did a combination read of this one partially listening to the audiobook and partially reading my print copy. I enjoyed the narrator of the audiobook who handled the accents, voices, and pacing of the story very well. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 23, 2019 |
Extremely readable, not just for ease of prose but also felicity of style. Our narrator-heroine is genuinely quirky and genuinely interesting while being realistic about it, and I found the delightful culture shock of America-to-England entirely sufficient to get me through the first 150 pages or so, until plot started to drop properly and some actual interesting spec-fic themes developed. I would've liked to have more of this as just digging into those themes, because I have all manner of interest in the Shades and everything they are involved with. Guess that means I'll just have to pick up the sequel, dunnit?

ETA: One thing I don't get, however, is the "I must move to London!" response that I see all over the place to this book. To be quite honest, London didn't come to life for me in this the way it does in, say, [a:Kate Griffin|613805|Kate Griffin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1372142497p2/613805.jpg]. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Full review including favourite quotes at: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/my-kyrosmagica-review-of-the-name-o...

I’ve been meaning to read this novel for ages. I was delighted to listen to Maureen Johnson, and Leigh Bardugo at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last August talking about Alternative Worlds. In fact there is a write up of this wonderful event on my blog on the 25th of August under the heading Author interviews and Talks. So check that out.

In my opinion The Name of The Star, (The Shades of London #), really captures the reader’s imagination about half way through the story. Up until the half way mark it’s a little slow, bogged down by the detail of introducing the setting and the characters. But, on the whole it is quite an engaging story, and Maureen does a great job keeping us entertained with her little witticisms. Luckily the pace livens up in the second half of the novel, and elements of the story are revealed that make it a much more exciting tale, so watch out for that! I would say the writing style is not complex, it is more middle grade, yet the topic is YA, which makes it an easy, fast read.

Rory is from Louisiana but has been sent to Wexford Academy, a boarding school in London. Despite the culture shock, Rory settles into Wexford without too much difficulty. Although she does feel somewhat challenged by the emphasis on sport, particularly hockey. Still, everything else seems to be going well, and she likes her new roommate Jazza. Her boarding school happens to be in the same area that was terrorized by Jack the Ripper in 1888. Weirdly it seems as if Jack is back in town, and wants to greet Rory. “It was as if the news itself wanted to reassure me. Even Jack the Ripper himself had reappeared as part of the greeting committee.” There are CCTV cameras all over London, yet this isn’t deterring someone from carrying out copy cat Jack The Ripper murders. With the murders comes a new flat mate, Boo, who seems very different from Rory’s flatmate Jazza, and everything begins to change. I liked Maureen’s choice of name, Boo, for Rory’s new flat mate, very witty!

It’s a new twist on the Jack The Ripper story and on the whole it works well. The characters are well crafted, particularly Rory, the main female character, and for the most part the story line is believable, (bearing in mind that this is about ghosts!) Though, I did wonder a bit about the method used to zap the ghosts into oblivion possibly this stretched the powers of believability a bit. Though, Maureen Johnson likes to be humorous so maybe she was thinking of changing channels on her TV when she came up with the idea! No, more about that, I don’t want to spoil it for you. The book appears to be well researched, you get the sense that Maureen Johnson tiptoed around London snooping around to find out all she could about the various parts of London where Jack the Ripper struck.

There is a touch of romance in the story, Jerome the love interest, seems to be obsessed with Jack the Ripper, in fact he encourages Rory to sneak out of Wexford through a broken window, to a roof top vantage point at Aldshot, hoping to see something. Jerome sounds a bit daft, and fool-hardy, typical teenage boy material. Later on the way back Rory does indeed see something, or possibly someone, but her flat mate does not, adding to the mystery. I had the sense that Maureen Johnson didn’t intend that this romance was to play a big part in the novel, in a way it seemed to be a bit of light-hearted relief for Rory, a snog with obsessive Jerome, seemed to take her mind of the Ripper’s devilish plans. You can’t blame the poor girl. If you are looking for a well developed romance this isn’t it, this feels more like a bit of a light-hearted temporary diversion, with a very satisfactory snog as a compensation. “Kissing is something that makes up for a lot of other crap you have to put up with…It can be confusing and weird and awkward, but sometimes it just makes you melt and forget everything that is going on.”
( )
  marjorie.mallon | Mar 27, 2019 |
This story drew me right in and kept me guessing the whole time! Great read! I cannot wait to read the next one... ( )
  SusanGeiss | Mar 24, 2019 |
This story was what I expected. It’s not just a play on the old Jack the Ripper theme. It’s a creative twist on a modern version with excellent writing, wonderful storyline, and great character development. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, so glad I did. ( )
  sgilbraith | Feb 8, 2019 |
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For Amsler. Thanks for the milk.
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Book 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.
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Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

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