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The Name of the Star

Johnson, Maureen, 1973-

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Name of the Star
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.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2011
ISBN: 0399256601
Branch Call Number: JOHNSON M
Johnson, M
Characteristics: 372 p. : map ; 22 cm


From the critics

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An American teen, Rory, arrives in London to attend boarding school just as the city is beginning to experience a rash of gruesome Jack the Ripper copycat murders. Because the bodies have been found in neighbourhoods close to the school, students worry that the next murder could happen on the campus. Everyone is tense; many students are justifiably terrified.

Rory has the special ability to “see” ghosts and otherworldly beings. On the night of the next murder - which happens on the school campus - Rory glimpses the escaping killer. None of the other students see him. Why? He’s a ghost.

Rory is soon contacted by the members of a clandestine British government ghost-policing squad. Joining forces, they search together for the ghostly killer – a revengeful monster who proves to be absolutely ruthless and diabolical.

In the end, it’s the killer who finds and targets Rory in a terrifying conclusion to the story.

This well-written, thoroughly suspenseful book, with its many twists and turns (and a romance, too), is the first title in Maureen Johnson’s brilliant Shades of London series.

Jan 06, 2014
  • AA4503 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A girl who sees ghosts, and tries to find an infamous copy cat serial killer, Jack the Ripper. The plot, and characters were creative. It is about a young lady who transfers into an English boarding school. After her near death experience, she is able to see ghosts. Trying to fit into English society, she fumbles her way into making friends. I appreciated the fresh twist on the 'Who dunnit' with a supernatural flair. It wasn't over done, but kept me intrigued throughout the entire book.

Jan 04, 2014
  • emmadragons rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

unusual story but very exciting

Aug 07, 2013
  • artemishi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was a very pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't heard much about it, but it got a lot of positive reviews and I knew it had Jack the Ripper stuff, so I was willing to take a chance on it. And I am SO GLAD that I did!

Maureen Johnson fills this book with breezy, witty, but relatable humor, juxtaposed with mystery and suspense. It's not a scary book, but it does keep you turning the pages. I wasn't expecting the few twists and turns that are in there (which, believe me, is something new). I liked all of the characters, even the ones that were prats. I loved the very realistic portrayal of England, from the casual details of slang to the geographic markers and the general bulls eye topics within British culture. I felt like I was immersed there, realistically. In fact, this book so pulled me into it that I refused to go out after dark while I was reading it.

The main character, Rory, is likeable. And although she's much more wise and grounded than most teenagers I've known, she's also very real. She follows hormones instead of common sense, sometimes, and she's fully aware of it. She doesn't rush in and save the day (in fact, in many ways she's a victim), but her tenacity and compassion are heroic. She's very observant, which I like in a protagonist, and she's also a true individual.

I know the story is over. I know it. But I want to roll around in this world some more. I want to be Rory's friend, and hang out with her, and see what happens next. To everybody.

And after reading the afterward, where Maureen thanks her friends (the list of which includes most of my absolutely favorite authors), I'm 99% certain that Maureen Johnson is going to be on my favorite-author list.

I highly recommend this for fans of that nebulous genre between YA and Fiction, where well-written and adult books happen, even if the protagonist is a teenager. Also for fans of Great Britain, especially London; Jack the Ripper; the supernatural; well-paced mysteries/suspense novels; and those in favor of believable, and strong, female protagonists.

NOTE: Please do not assume the cover art has anything to do with the story. It's pretty, but misleading. This story refers to the past but takes place in modern day, and Rory is notably *not* a redhead. I think the artist was given one sentence about the book and just painted something from that.

Apr 30, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I'm finally getting to reading a book by Maureen Johnson, and she doesn't disappoint. Excellent writing; excellent storytelling. I was really into the character and her school year in London, with the murder mystery adding delicious tension and suspense. Then, maybe a third of the way in, there was a twist that changed the landscape and actually detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I don't want to say what that was, but I think I would have liked this even more without that aspect of the story. Even so, four full stars.

Mar 30, 2013
  • KKPGIRL rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I actually liked this book more than I thought I would! I kept putting off reading it and ended up renewing it 3 times before I finally got around to reading it, but I'm glad I finally did. I loved the first half of the book, but the last half got kind of confusing for me, and I wasn't sure what was going on or what might happen next. Overall, I really did like this book. The characters were entertaining and the storyline was very original and not like anything else I've read. Yes, I would recommend this book if you like mysteries/ teen books.

Nov 08, 2012
  • Lotte_ rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

OMG this book was amazing! one of the best murder mystery books i have read.

Oct 28, 2012
  • tinker1318 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Good read - great plot / amazing storyline!! Read this book in three days! loved every moment of it!!! (dont typically like mystery novels, but this one i could not put down!!)

Aug 26, 2012
  • kitten97 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Name of the Star was a great murder mystery except it was a bit gory. Still, it was a facinating read dealing with mystery and the supernatural. I can't wait for the next installment of the shades of London.

Jun 14, 2012
  • YouthlibrarianGWD rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It has some exciting and edge of your seat parts but it is not really about Jack the Ripper. Good for fans of murder mysteries.

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Add Age Suitability

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 16

May 15, 2013
  • screamalong rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

screamalong thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Mar 30, 2013
  • KKPGIRL rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jan 02, 2013
  • orange_tiger_343 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

orange_tiger_343 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Nov 24, 2012
  • OuranophobicAngel rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

OuranophobicAngel thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 08, 2012
  • Lotte_ rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Lotte_ thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jul 29, 2012
  • Blue_Cat_754 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Blue_Cat_754 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 16

Jul 13, 2012
  • Dimmu16 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Dimmu16 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Aug 26, 2012
  • kitten97 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The name of the Star is about Aurora "Rory" Deveaux, a girl from Louisiana, who chooses to spend a year in London at a boarding school called Wexford. On the day she arrives in London, a woman is murdered in the exact place, time, day, and way as the first Jack the Ripper murder from 1888. Soon more murders occur corresponding with the original dates of the Jack the Ripper "legend" in the same gruesomely way and London with its extensive CCTV cameras does not have a clue to who the culprit is. On the night of one of the murders, Rory sees a man. A man that her roommate does not see. Rory finds herself as the only person to have seen "the murder". Strange things start happening to Rory pulling her in to the midst of London's greatest mystery. It is up to Rory and her new found friends and the mysterious Shades of London to stop the Jack the Ripper copycat from killing the innocent.


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