The Name of the Star absolutely blew me away. While very excited to read this, I was slightly worried about what was in store for me because I could not imagine this murder mystery as a young adult novel. I was shocked and elated to find that this novel was fun, and that if you took out the murders it would still be an amazing story about discovering yourself in a foreign place, making new friends and more! The characters are so realistic and developed really well, and I'm in total awe of how completely I was immersed in the atmosphere. London isn't two-dimensional but rich in history with beautiful sights, and Johnson captures all of this in her writing, making the novel an absolute joy to read.
I've always been a fan of Jack the Ripper. While gruesome, the mystery and thrill of the murders are intriguing and Johnson does a fantastic job of describing everything to readers who may be new to the subject. Whether it be from a knowledgeable student, a first hand account of the murder or a news report, each murder and the legends surrounding the Ripper are explained. What we end up with is a very rich and realistic story, which fully succeeds in creating a frightening and uneasy mood when necessary.
Rory Deveaux is a student from New Orleans who has come to study at a London boarding school. Don't you just love boarding schools? Every single boarding school story, I get excited for. I love how students are able to live together and be independent (but in London, no less!). Rory is a brilliant protagonist. She's straight-forward, very determined, not cowardly and is willing to protect her friends at all costs. Want another bonus? Along with Rory's witty remarks, her Americanisms amongst her native students are hilarious. I'm telling you guys - this is good young adult fiction. Don't be scared!
There are so many characters in The Name of the Star, each with a significant role, and I adored them all. Jazza is Rory's roommate and the two get along very well, with their similar likes, dislikes and habits. Both are close and loyal to the other until the arrival of a late student, Boo, shakes up their world with her secrets. Oh how I loved the mystery in this novel. There are dozens of twists and shocking revelations that will put the story in a new light, each and every time. Scattered throughout the novel are short scenes of outside characters, told in third person point of view. These characters are closely related to the Ripper murders and will usually provide us with a new perspective or piece of information. Basically, they scare us. Who knows what these characters will reveal?
With the shocking discovery on the final page, I am very glad that this is a series. I can't bear to leave these characters or the exciting world which Johnson has created. A very interesting storyline awaits us in the second book! A truly amazing book - be sure to get your hands on it soon!
Are you a fan of Jack the Ripper? Who's read 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen? Thoughts?