Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

In Maureen Johnson's "The Name of the Star", our protagonist, Rory, (short for Aurora) is a nice southern girl whose professor parents are taking a sabbatical leave to teach American law in Bristol, England. Rory is all set for adventure and doing her senior high school year at an English boarding school in East London called Wexford. She gets a little more adventure than she bargained for, as she arrives at Wexford in the midst of  a serial killer recreating Jack the Ripper's infamous crimes on the same dates, more than 100 years later! And the school is right in the classic kill zone, near Whitechapel.
This story grabs you right off, as we settle into Wexford with Rory, meet her extremely nice and proper room-mate Jazza, and the prefects which include the handsome, Ripper-obsessed Jerome (from the Boy's dorm across the green) and the ultra-annoying Charlotte. Rory is starting to enjoy herself, going to classes and getting to know the other students, some a bit odd, like Alastair, the boy she always sees in the library, reading in the dark. What's up with him? And the Ripper continues to capture everyone's attention, striking again and again as the public wonders who will be next and throw Ripper parties to alleviate the tension.
You might think this is just another serial-killer story and you might be wrong. That's something you'll need to discover for yourself, as Rory does.
Ms. Johnson is a very engaging writer and despite the murders her characters still find time to eat and laugh and fall in love. This is the first of a series... and one the Recommender thinks she's going to like!

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