Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin imprint)
The day Rory Deveaux arrives in London is the day she starts a new life at boarding school. But it's also the day a series of brutal murders started, gruesome crimes oddly mimicking Jack the Ripper's own crimes more than a century earlier. Soon, "Rippermania" takes hold of London and the police are left with few leads and no suspects. Except one. Rory saw the man the police are looking for, their prime suspect, but she's the only one who saw him. How is that possible? And more importantly, why has he become her next target?
Filled with humour and suspense, and maybe a little romance here and there, Maureen Johnson gives us a fast-paced story of a Louisiana teen thrown right into London and its eccentricities and its unique old world charm. And its Jack the Ripper mania when a body shows up. And another. And another.
Rory was an interesting character. She has a very odd family, strange cousins and aunt and uncles, so she knows what weird is. When she sees the man she thinks is copying the Ripper murders, when she discovers she can see ghosts and that this man is dead, she not completely surprised but it is still strange to her. Who would ever say they can see ghosts?
And who is this secret ghost police that finds her when she tries to tell the actual police about the man? Rory's not alone in London, but it doesn't make her safe.
Maureen Johnson has crafted a book that looks and reminds me of London, of the history and the mystery, of cobbled streets and ancient stone churches and buildings, of a monarchy, of crimes brutal and unsolved. Mix the secrets and stone paths of London with ghosts and a plucky heroine more focused on the well-being of everyone around her instead of yourself, and what you have here is an amazing story.
(I bought this book at a book signing featuring the author.)