Goodreads Book Blurb: 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.
My Opinion: I liked, but did not love, this book. I love historical fiction. I loved the idea of a paranormal young adult book set around Jack the Ripper. I went into this thinking it would be a thriller, and I was really disappointed on that front.
The big problem with The Name of the Star is pacing. A large portion of the book is taken up with the mundane frivolities of the main character moving to a new city and settling into a new school. The tension didn’t build in the first little bit, and I didn’t feel any real connection to the characters to make the boarding school setting one I was dying to read about.
Also, can I just say… Jazza? Not loving that name. Boo was a little more bearable, because it was an obvious short-hand. But Jazza kind of drove me crazy.
Johnson writes well, I won’t dispute that. I found nothing that made me really glower when it came to prose – stylistically that is. It was just the flat characters and the pacing that made this a three day read instead of a one day read.
The last 50-100 pages of The Name of the Star do pick up considerably, and I blew through those. I really liked how Johnson wrote the romance (because all YA has romance). It wasn’t the “you are my soulmate” that permeates so much YA these days, but rather “I really like you, so let’s make out”. I seem to recall it was a little insta-love for my tastes, but there were also some difficulties, which was appreciated.
The Bottom Line: I don’t know if I will continue with this particular series. I personally found that the tension and thrill was lacking. This makes me think that perhaps Johnson’s contemporary YA may be better suited to her strengths. So that is where I will turn my attention next with this author.