Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Book Reviews

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

4 Stars

Was going to a British boarding school ever one of your dreams? If like me, your answer is yes, then you’re really going to enjoy the setting of this book. Not only is this boarding school co-ed, but it’s also in London, and the history of the building itself is super interesting. You get a lot of insight into how the school system works in England. It’s really rigorous! Still, I would’ve loved to have gone to school there! Minus the murdering suspect, of course.

The crime spree is pretty gruesome, and the spectacle created by the media and the public was really believable. However, I did not find myself on the edge of my seat until things started happening to our protagonist. Once that happened, I was just as scared as her! One thing I loved was how funny Rory was at times, and also the smart, funny banter between her and her roommate and The Boy. There are some really cute flirty moments. I loved how Maureen described kissing in this excerpt:

“Kissing is something that makes up for a lot of the other crap you have to put up with in school, and as a teenager in general. It can be confusing and weird and awkward, but sometimes it just makes you melt and forget everything that is going on. You could be in a burning building or a bus about to fall off a cliff. It doesn’t matter, because you are just a puddle.” – pg. 282

So you read that part about the secret ghost police in the synopsis, right? I must confess after they’re introduced, I kept singing “Who you gonna call? GhostBusters!” in my head. Not that anything in the book directly relates to GhostBusters…well, except maybe the ghostbusting part. Don’t get me wrong! I dug it!! I liked the history and the way they become ghost police, it was just inevitable for me to not relate the two. This group takes care of one another under some dire circumstances sometimes. Here’s another quote from the book where I loved how Maureen described bravery:

“It’s not that I’m extremely brave—I think I just forgot myself for a minute. Maybe that’s what bravery is. You forget you’re in trouble when you see someone else in danger. Or maybe there is a limit to how afraid you can get, and I’d hit it.” – pg. 307

Although I liked this book from the start, I wasn’t completely sucked in until after halfway through, I would say. The ending was suspenseful and it left off on a very intriguing discovery!! I ended up really liking these characters and therefore I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Book Info

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Series: Shades of London #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile
Pub Date: September 29th 2011
Pages: 372
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: ParanormalYoung Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

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.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

12 Responses to “Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson”

  1. Avatar

    Jan von Harz

    I am currently listening to this one and loving. Rory is a fantastic character with a great back story and Bo is a hoot. Cannot wait to find out what happens as I am only half way through.

  2. Avatar


    Oh this sounds SO awesome. I just bought it this week and I can’t wait to get into it. I love serial killer stories and mysteries. Great review! Good to know that it gets more scary once the protagonist gets really into it.

    Xpresso Reads

  3. Avatar


    I have to admit – when I read that there were “Ghost Police” I was singing Ghostbusters myself! (Of course, that was also my theme song as I read Anna Dressed in Blood too!)

    I do want to read this one, it has all the elements I love – Jack the Ripper, European Boarding School! Can’t beat that combination!

  4. Avatar

    Christa Seeley

    I totally had Ghotbusters stuck in my head too! I found this book really interesting but like you thought it really picked up after the first half. If nothing else it made me interested to find out more about Jack the Ripper!

  5. Avatar

    Book Crook Liza

    I have this sitting on my shelf waiting patiently for me to read it! It sounds really interesting! Bwuaha love the Ghostbusters theme running through your head! And now it’s going to be stuck in my head all day after you mentioned it! ;D I really love that second quote – very thoughtful. :) And true, I think! 

    Great review! I can’t wait to read this now! :)
    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  6. Avatar


    I’d probably think about Ghost Busters too :-) I’ve actually never seen the movies though. I would have loved going to a British boarding school – or at least loved the idea.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.