Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review & Giveaway: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: September 29th, 2011

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Okay, so I have always liked Maureen Johnson.  She writes an eclectic mix of things, but I always find her witty and funny.  This book was a departure from what I'm used to reading from her, but that isn't a bad thing.  I actually loved this book.  A lot.  So much so, that I had to review it right away and include a giveaway because it was so good and I needed to share, and it is the perfect time of year to read it because the events take place right around now.  So, why did I love it?

Well, first off, it was a wonderful blend of genres.  You have a combination of Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Muticultural, and Romance.  There's really something for everyone in this book.  It was well researched and fabulously written.  I'm no writer, but I can imagine that it is difficult to seamlessly blend genres like Maureen did, and I'm very impressed.  Next, the world building was very nice.  I've never been to London, but I feel like I could now navigate East End, and the very least.  Her descriptions were great and very authentic.  It is abundantly clear that she lives there part-time.  

I liked the characters, and although I found one or two annoying, I didn't really dislike anyone (except the killer).  Boo was my favorite.  She made me laugh, and I loved her manner.  Jerome is one of my new imaginary boyfriends.  As for Rory, there were a few times I wanted to smack her, but overall I really liked her.  I loved her Southerness; her love of fatty foods, iced tea, and long drawn-out stories.  I liked that there was some mystery around some of the characters.  It bothers me when authors develop everyone at the beginning because it's not real.  You don't get to know people in an instant; it's a gradual thing, and that's how these characters were written.

As for the story... LOVED IT!  It was well paced, and had oodles of twists and turns.  I will not spoil it all for you by giving anything up, but I will say that it was a total page-turner.  I could not put it down and had to bribe myself with a chapter in order to get anything else done (load dishwasher=1 chapter, fold a load of laundry=1 chapter, etc.).  It was not at all what I expected, but SO much better.  When I heard about this book, I was intrigued, but it wasn't at the tippy-top of my list, but I'm telling you, now that I've read it, it should definitely be at the tippy-top of yours.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book can be gory at times; it is about a serial killer who is recreating the Jack the Ripper murders of the late 19th century, so it can be graphic.  Other than that there really isn't much that would be objectionable for the average middle schooler.  There's a little teen drinking, but it takes place in London, and it's legal, and there's some innocent romance.  I would say this is fine for 6th grade and up provided the violent nature of the murders isn't an issue.  (Ages 11+)

...and now, for the giveaway I promised (because I loved this book so much and had to share!)!



29 comments:

  1. Really want to read this one, thanks for the giveaway :)

    Check out the giveaway have have at the moment!

    http://bookmigik.blogspot.com/

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  2. Great review! I've heard such great things about this book! I must admit I have yet to read anything by Maureen Johnson *hangs head in shame* Hope to change this soon :)

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  3. This is so different than what I am used to seeing Johnson but it sounds really intriguing, love the historical mystery aspect and would love a chance to read it! Twists and turns and more oh my :)

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  4. I don't think I have ever read anything by Maureen Johnson before, so this will be my first by her. I have only seen positive reviews for this book and honestly, how can it not be awesome with a cover like that? That alone should be reason enough to read it!

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  5. Well I think I just might love this book also, I've never been to London and would love a book that can capture its essence. I'm not really into reading about killing but I think this one might be unique seeing as you said it has a combination of Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Muticultural, and Romance.

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  6. Thanks for the review and the giveaway! I have been wanting to read this book I love YA, serial killers, horror, pretty much everything and this one joins a couple of them together : ) I've been to London a couple times and I think it would be neat to read some more books that might mention different places in London that I have been to. Again thanks!

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  7. Okay, the man in the background is really creepy. I mean like stalker creepy. All back and a pale white face. And from looking at the cover, I think something happens to this main character that she nearly dies because of him. But i still can't wait to read it.

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  8. I totally get what you mean about having to bribe yourself xD Though I'm not nearly as good or efficient as you.

    This review fell onto my lap right on time, because I was planning on reading this soon. Now I'm just going to make it sooner. Thanks for the eye-catching, thorough review.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

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  9. Wow, great review and I so want to read the book more after I read your review. I love the whole idea of the book. :)

    - Beckie

    ChiKittie(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Hi, I have entered and would love to win an ebook I live in the UK is this okay? or is it US only even for ebook??

    JeanzBookReadNReview

    jeanz@btinternet.com

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  11. @jeanz I would be fine sending an ebook.

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  12. Your review encouraged me more to read this book! It seems like an amazing book with a blend of everything :)

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  13. I like Maureen Johnson, too, and I like that this one is set abroad again, like her others (at least the ones I've read). Thanks for the review and the giveaway!
    Mary, A Book A Day

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  14. This book has been on my TBR list for ages! Reading your review just made me want it even more! I love the idea of bribing yourself with a chapter :) I may do that as I find that once I really get into a book I just forget about everything else around me ha!

    Thanks for the giveaway! I live in Ireland so can is it ok to enter for a chance to win the ebook?

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  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for this lovely opportunity I like the cover it's quite haunting plus the genre combo combination is very interesting indeed ^_^

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  16. This book sounds completely creepy and incredible. I don't know why, but I've always had a fascination with murderers and why they do what they do (I know that makes me sound like a total weirdo). I can't wait to read this one!

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  17. I've been pretty excited about this one! Glad you loved it :) And thank you for the chance to win!

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  18. I'm excited to read the book. It's been on my TBR file on Goodreads since i first heard about it.!! Sounds like and awesome book!

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  19. Thanks for the giveaway!

    lol Sorry, couldn't resit :P

    I can't wait to read this one -- I love that it's a blend of several genres, and of course, it involves a serial killer recreating Jack The Ripper, whom I've always been fascinated with.

    Jess

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  20. This book is made of win. It was easily one of my favorite books of the year. I can't wait to see where it goes next.

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  21. Thanks for the giveaway! I've wanted to read this book for forever! :p

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  22. This is on my wishlist! I love MJ too, always great to follow on Twitter and her books are fantastic. I am curious to see her dark side in this book :)

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  23. Really great review. I hate it so much when authors give you everything about the character when you first meet them. Or when all the characeters are the same. I have run into a few books like that.

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  24. Been wanting to read this! Nice review & thanks for doing a giveaway :-)

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  25. I've heard great things about this book and I am very much looking forward to reading it :D plus, it's Ms. Johnson, she can do no wrong in my eyes... haha!

    Diana M.

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  26. I recently received this book from my library and I LOVED it!!

    thanks for hosting such an awesome contest :)

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