The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson


Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.



“It was clearly one of those mornings when I was particularly American.”

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star was incredibly disappointing. I went into this book with the expectation that this would be a great book. The premise alone is what captured my full attention: a modern retelling of Jack the Ripper. The reason I’m so disappointed with The Name of the Star is because of the direction the book took. Meaning, that this is an incredibly biased review.

Maureen Johnson, from my experience with this book, is a fantastic writer. The main character, Rory, is a fun, down to earth teenager. Her inner monologue is ripe with funny anecdotes, thoughts, and comments. Rory is one of those rare characters in young adult literature that are a pleasure to read. I loved every moment of reading from her perspective. Jazza and Jerome are not as well developed as Rory, however I missed them when they weren’t around. They completed each scene.
Unfortunately, the introduction of the new characters (that I assume will be important in the next books) was lacklustre at best. One of the characters is so over the top and annoying that I had to take a break from reading because she annoyed me so much. The other two characters have zero personality. They just show up in the book and move the plot along.

As mentioned previously, the plot is what disappointing me the most. Without spoiling it all I’ll say is that the story went in a direction I wished it didn’t. Most young adult books take this direction, so I should have known but I had such high hopes. Once this direction was clear I checked out of the book and skimmed through the rest of it. The ending was ridiculous as predicted.

For the first 3/4 of the book, Johnson did a fantastic job of teasing out the mystery and kept me guessing at every turn. But the last portion of the book the mystery and everything surrounding it was painfully obvious. It actually hurt to read the hints because they were so transparent.
Overall, The Name of the Star has great writing and a well developed main character that is a pleasure to read but ultimately falls flat because of the direction the story takes. I will definitely not be continuing this series.