The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

Hardcover, 370 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2011 by Putnam

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.

5/5 Stars!

Oh, where do I even begin to talk about my love for this book?

First, it has a heaping ton of Jack the Ripper lore nestled within its pretty pages.  And Jack the Ripper is nothing if not intriguing.  And quite frankly, this book taught me a lot about the legend.  I knew the basic, like everyone does...Jack the Ripper slaughtered a bunch of women and then disappeared, leaving the case unsolved.  But there's so much more to it.  And in The Name of the Star, Rory gets to London not long before someone starts recreating Jack the Ripper's killings on the anniversaries of the originals.  But whoever is doing it is recreating the murders perfectly...down to the locations, the mutilations, and even the last names of the victims.

And no one knows who it could be.  The killer has managed to keep completely anonymous. But then, when Rory and her roommate sneak out one night to keep watch from the roof of the boy's dorm at their school, she sees something...someone.

The only problem is that no one else saw the person, and now Rory's the only real witness in a city gripped with Rippermania.

I loved Johnson's writing.  I haven't read her stuff for ages, and I'd forgotten how much I loved her books.  Rory is an incredibly well-rounded character.  She's flawed and sweet but she stands on her own two feet and has some of the best backstory asides I've ever heard.  I was completely engrossed with her tales of her wacky family back home in Louisiana.

I also loved the relationships she forged at her new school in London, especially those with her new roommate Jazza, and the sweet love interest Jerome, and then later with Boo, Alistair and a bunch of other characters that are awesome, but I don't want to mention because I don't want to spoil anything.

Seriously, read this book.  It's awesome.