Thursday, June 7, 2012

THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson

Just in case it is not exciting enough to head off to London for a year in an English boarding school, simply add what appears to be a Jack the Ripper copycat killer, and things are sure to get exciting.

Rory is used to the peaceful, laid back life in small town Louisiana, but when her parents are offered an opportunity to work in London for a year, she jumps at the chance to join them.  Shortly after Rory arrives at Wexford the first murder takes place.  The wounds on the victim are freakishly similar to those on the victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper.  Could it be that someone is copying the legendary London killer?

Rory quickly adjusts to the routine of Wexford, and she and her roommate become fast friends.  The business of school keeps Rory occupied as the murders continue.  Rory doesn't mind that the students are closely watched and restricted in their movements, but during this time she begins experiencing something strange.  Why does she start seeing people no one else around her seems to notice?

When another murder takes place, this time on the Wexford campus, Rory is one of the students questioned.  She mentioned seeing a strange man around the time and location of the killing.  Once again, Rory seems to be the only one who saw the man. 

At the same time a new student arrives and is placed in the room with Rory and her roommate Jazza.  Rory soon learns she is not the only one who sees these mysterious people.  Her new roommate reveals she is actually an undercover cop, and with the help of some colleagues, she explains that Rory is seeing ghosts.  One of them may even be the ghost of Jack the Ripper.

Author Maureen Johnson has created an amazing mystery filled with fascinating historical details and chilling descriptions of the modern-day murders.  Fans of Johnson's earlier works will not be disappointed with THE NAME OF THE STAR, and she is sure to gain a whole new group of fans with this latest offering.


MizzL said...

I was thinking of doing this as a read aloud for eighth graders, but as I have not yet read it myself, I want to make sure I'm not going to come across anything I would not want to read aloud to students. Please advise.

Readingjunky said...

I don't remember anything objectionable for eighth graders, however, I think it would appeal more to girls than guys. If you are looking for a read-aloud that is successful with 8th grade, I would recommend IF I GROW UP by Todd Strasser. That one really gets the kids talking and also looking for more of Strasser's books when we finish.

Good luck!