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Book Review- The Name of the Star

Book Review- The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
publisher: Putnam
hardcover and paperback, 372 pages
intended audience: Young adult

rating: ♥♥♥♥


It all started with a woman lying on the ground, in a pool of blood with an open slash where her neck use to be. The news flashes the banner “Ripper-Like Murder in the East End, “and that’s where is all began, with the Return.  

Rory Deveaux is a small town Louisiana girl, who loves her sweet tea, extra sweet, with every meal. A small town where oddities are its’ charm. So arriving to study at Wexford Academy in London, should have been a welcome break from her crazy, freezer collecting, uncle and angel communicating aunt.

 Just trying to settle in at Wexford Academy, Rory arrives into a world of school uniforms, roommates and a heavy course curriculum, all while trying to make new friends.  Instead she signaled the beginning of a string of murders echoing that of the 1888 Ripper murders.

Not long after she adjusts to her routine, the legendary killings of Jack the Ripper begin to haunt her, as she soon discovers that she is living right in the middle of the serial killer’s playground.  But everything changes for Rory when she sees a man on campus that her roommate can’t, just before another murder is committed in the middle of campus. Did she just see the Ripper copycat? Details start to mount as the victims start to fall all around her, corresponding with the same dates as the Ripper’s victims of 1888.

All too quickly, “Ripper-Mania” sieges London, with the media giving people a countdown calendar to death. The people become more frantic, as fear begins to build in the streets in the days leading up to the next murder, where threats of a copycat loom on every street corner. CCTV cameras are mounted on every street corner, yet they still haven’t caught any sign of the killer.  Posing the question, is this the works of a copycat killer or evidence that it is something more?

Opening up 100 years of fear and fanatics behind the case, with the allure of Jack the Ripper’s notorious and signature slashes across the throats and displays of internal organs on all of the killings.

The real mystery for Rory, is what she is really seeing? Spinning in a paranormal twist to the plot, could the ghost of Jack the Ripper be responsible for the current crimes? All, throwing Rory into a secret paranormal investigation with the elusive Scotland Yard team. 

In the Name of the Star, lands itself as an on the edge of your seat thriller. Mixing present day murders and London Academy life with bloodshed, murder, and the paranormal. Set with historical accuracy of the famed Jack the Ripper killings, including vivid descriptions of London. Mixing the dark and horrific with charming characters, representing more than the unknown, but of fear itself.

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