The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star

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...

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Title:The Name of the Star
Author:Maureen Johnson
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Name of the Star Reviews

  • Pam Victorio

    There are several things I love about Maureen Johnson’s writing. Her ability to describe a setting in such a way that causes vivid imagery to accompany her words, and her incredibly intellectual wit that makes me laugh out loud while reading. When I read that Johnson was publishing a paranormal YA book I knew I had to read it.

    Rory is a Southern girl going to school in London, I adore the way Rory sees the city and the brilliant deductions she makes about all things British. She is having an okay

    There are several things I love about Maureen Johnson’s writing. Her ability to describe a setting in such a way that causes vivid imagery to accompany her words, and her incredibly intellectual wit that makes me laugh out loud while reading. When I read that Johnson was publishing a paranormal YA book I knew I had to read it.

    Rory is a Southern girl going to school in London, I adore the way Rory sees the city and the brilliant deductions she makes about all things British. She is having an okay time at school, making friends and learning to fit in then she starts seeing things, things that no one else sees.

    Not long after Rory sees a man that her roommate didn’t Rippermania seizes London. Is this the work of a copy cat killer? Can the police stop the next murders on the list since they know when and where they will happen? What can anyone glean from CCTV footage that doesn’t show an assailant?

    Rory soon realizes what she saw wasn’t normal and is thrown into a world of secret police and paranormal investigation. Will the special team of Scotland Yard detectives be able to stop the Ripper before he strikes again?

    The Name of the Star is full of edge-of-your-seat thrills, laugh-out-loud moments and quotable phrases. Johnson has breathed life into a genre swiftly turning stale and blended thriller with paranormal with humor in a recipe that is guaranteed to please. I promise you that this book is wholly unputdownable.

    The Name of the Star comes out September 29th and features blurbs from paranormal goddesses like Cassie Clare and Holly Black.

  • Lindsay Cummings

    Amazing!! listened to the audiobook while driving back and forth on tour stops. I HATE driving long hours but I was honestly excited about getting back in the car so I could hit play and dive back into the world. plus, the woman who does the audio does TONS of accents and it was incredible! this story is creepy, unique, and has a touch of Gothic feel that I just adore. ordered book 2 the second I finished :)

  • Jana (My Messy Chapters)

    This is actually the first book I’ve read that’s by Maureen Johnson, so I didn’t know what to expect. Normally, I would shy from these types of things; I mean come on it IS Jack the Ripper. Are you kidding me? I’m not a big fan of horror movies, or horror books ,for that matter.

    A few weeks ago before reading the book, I (foolishly) thought that this was a historical paranormal. So imagine my surprise when I started reading and found out that this was set in present day, not in the 1880’s with

    This is actually the first book I’ve read that’s by Maureen Johnson, so I didn’t know what to expect. Normally, I would shy from these types of things; I mean come on it IS Jack the Ripper. Are you kidding me? I’m not a big fan of horror movies, or horror books ,for that matter.

    A few weeks ago before reading the book, I (foolishly) thought that this was a historical paranormal. So imagine my surprise when I started reading and found out that this was set in present day, not in the 1880’s with the ‘actual’ Jack the Ripper.

    The plot was very multi-layered and clever; it’s obvious that the author had put so much thought into this. I read in an interview that she intended the beginning to be heavy on the school boarding stuff, and I agree. At the start, I didn’t feel like I’m reading a paranormal story. It felt more like a contemporary. Which isn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t boring; it was unlike others I had read before.

    What was up with the title? I asked myself. I actually thought of it literally. But you’ll find out in the book why it’s called that and YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME THAT THAT IS THE MOST FITTING AND BEAUTIFUL NAME FOR THIS BOOK. I love it whereas I hated it before.

    You can see Maureen did her research. Damn, those historical facts were very interesting AND accurate. Despite living near London (well, quite) I had only been a few times (guys, I AM only fifteen) so I found her descriptions of locations very detailed. Oh, and I want to go to her boarding school now! Next year I would be doing my A-Levels as well (the same as Rory’s) and now I wish that the school was real ha! I also love the English references! , and how Rory compares them to the US.

    Maureen’s writing is just lovely and fabulous. I admire her use of switching between third person and first person, formal and informal. The main character Rory’s personality shone through. Her humor is fresh and witty. I loved her. She’s just the kind of person you aspire to be. She’s not a wimp. But she’s not brave either, which showed that she’s human; she gets scared. She’s loyal, relatable, trustworthy and just a genuinely nice person.

    If I had to be extremely picky about saying something negative (not that I have to but..) then I would say that I dislike the name ‘Rory’. Maybe that’s because I personally think it’s quite a masculine name for a girl and the fact that I know three boys called Rory in my school doesn’t help. At all.

    Have I mentioned how FUNNY this book is? I never knew books with Jack the Ripper could be so amusing. But this one is. There were a lot of times that I was laughing out loud hysterically my dad was giving me strange looks. The writer managed to balance the creepiness and entertainment just right.

    All the characters were very interesting and each and every one had a very distinct personality, with each of their own secrets. Rory, Jazza, Jerome, Alistair, I love. Even Boo, Stephen, Callum, where at first I had a sense of distrust and an unsettling feeling about them, all had something special and unique to add to the story. And don’t let me forget “Call Me Claudia” Claudia. Ha-ha, she’s got to be the funniest teacher ever.

    One thing that I wasn’t particularly ok with was the romance. There’s a guy, then another one appeared, and THEN another one. It was not until near the end of the book that things were cleared up, and I crossed one guy off from the list. She’s on and off with unnamed guy, but I have a feeling the other guy (that I prefer) would be more prominent in the second book.

    I know this is going to be a trilogy, but honestly I’m more than fine if it’s just a stand-alone. I think it’s one of those books that don’t leave you hanging; the story has a beginning, middle and the end.

    Overall, The Name of The Star is one book that you cannot miss. You’ll have to read it. Or Jack the Ripper might go to you next.

    My blog:

  • Giselle

    I was really intrigued and quite pleased with The Name of the Star. I read it after seeing many dazzling reviews, so my expectations were quite high and though it wasn't perfect, I was very satisfied with it.

    Jack the Ripper! That is all it took to entice me. Unless you have been born and raised under a rock, you have already heard about Jack the Ripper. His case is fascinating and very mysterious. I was really curious to find out how Maureen was going to use an extremely known story and make it

    I was really intrigued and quite pleased with The Name of the Star. I read it after seeing many dazzling reviews, so my expectations were quite high and though it wasn't perfect, I was very satisfied with it.

    Jack the Ripper! That is all it took to entice me. Unless you have been born and raised under a rock, you have already heard about Jack the Ripper. His case is fascinating and very mysterious. I was really curious to find out how Maureen was going to use an extremely known story and make it fresh. I was not disappointed. I loved the creativity she used while writing the plot in this book. She obviously did her research and added quite a bit of actual Ripper facts in the story which was very interesting. Then she added some great plot elements to make it an original and refreshing story.

    The first part of the book we have Rory who has moved to London to attend a private school. However, we don't have the usual private school cafeteria drama that you'd expect in this setting. Rory doesn't make instant enemies who happen to be the "it" crowd. Nor does she become the it crowd with the hottest guy in school. Rory is an ordinary high school student who works hard to get good grades and makes friends with her roommate. All the while a new killer is terrorizing London in much the same way as Jack the Ripper. Some may find it slow, but I enjoyed getting to know all the characters and Ripper facts before the furor. The second part is much more fast paced with a lot of plot progression and excitement.

    The plot itself was nicely done with lots of fascinating facts and creative spooky encounters. I did have a few issues with the motives of the murderer. I can't say exactly what without going into spoilers, but I didn't understand the reasoning behind his motives. He never had any reason to think he was ever in danger unless he became troublesome. That is all I can say without giving away spoilers, but I think those who've read it will understand. I also understand, myself, that this is the first in a series, so the possibility of getting further explanations is still open.

    It was refreshing to have no love triangle hanging in the air, but the romance was scarce at best. The love interest wasn't vert attractive or charming. I never felt much of a connection between him and the protagonist, but since it held such a scant part in the novel, it didn't affect my enjoyment of it by any means. I was reading this for the suspense, not the romance.

    I was actually surprised and pleased to find quite a bit of humor added in the dialogue. The protagonist is smart and witty. I really enjoyed her way of thinking. There are a good number of great and amusing lines that I could have used as quotes in my review, but I was always too comfortable (or lazy) to write them down so I'll let you read them for yourself. :)

    The ending will undoubtedly make anyone want to read the sequel right away. It's not a cliffhanger, but it opens the imagination to a great extent. In the end, it's a pretty good start to a potentially great series.

  • Kristina Horner

    This book had been on my shelf for years, seriously, before I actually picked it up to read it. I'm not even sure why, because the plot was always intriguing to me.

    I ended up having a great time with this story, and give it a solid 4. I thought the Jack The Ripper was stuff was interesting albeit a little on the fantastical side (the way London and the general media was reacting to these murders) but it didn't ruin the story for me. I enjoyed the main character, I enjoyed reading about the

    This book had been on my shelf for years, seriously, before I actually picked it up to read it. I'm not even sure why, because the plot was always intriguing to me.

    I ended up having a great time with this story, and give it a solid 4. I thought the Jack The Ripper was stuff was interesting albeit a little on the fantastical side (the way London and the general media was reacting to these murders) but it didn't ruin the story for me. I enjoyed the main character, I enjoyed reading about the London boarding school life (which was surprising, as I'm a little burnt out on boarding school stories) and I found some parts to shockingly creepy - this book has just the right amount of spook in it.

    Some of the side characters felt a little flat to me, but I loved the Shades and I loved the antagonist. Looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

  • Sasha Alsberg

    Hilarious, fun and mysterious read that I recommend everyone read!

  • Tatiana

    As seen on

    is a novel with a great premise but bogged down by a very mediocre writing.

    American teen Aurora (Rory) Deveaux is spending her senior year in London. Her parents work in nearby Bristol and Rory is all set to live and study at a boarding school. On the day of her arrival to London she learns that there is a brutal murderer on the loose. This murderer appears to be mimicking Jack the Ripper - his first victim was sliced and diced in exactly the same

    As seen on

    is a novel with a great premise but bogged down by a very mediocre writing.

    American teen Aurora (Rory) Deveaux is spending her senior year in London. Her parents work in nearby Bristol and Rory is all set to live and study at a boarding school. On the day of her arrival to London she learns that there is a brutal murderer on the loose. This murderer appears to be mimicking Jack the Ripper - his first victim was sliced and diced in exactly the same manner as the Ripper's in 1888. More murders happen in the neighborhood of Rory's school, and one day she crosses paths with the killer. The strange thing is, she seems to be the only person able to see him. Rory soon discovers that she possesses an ability to see ghosts and is eager to assist the ghost police of London in its search for the serial killer.

    Jack the Ripper's case is a truly fascinating and gruesome one. Johnson does a respectable job incorporating the details of the crimes in her story without shying away from the gore - cut-off noses, bowels and heads - it is all here!

    What is not so great is Johnson's writing.

    is the author's 9th book (I think), but it often read like a debut. It is full of mistakes that an experienced writer should not be making any more.

    Boring, vanilla characters (all of them, except the villain, are like that BTW) and far too long and indulgent HP-fanfic-like boarding school minutiae aside, I think every YA author should know by now that creating a mean girl as a heroine's arch-nemesis is overdone. In this book I could never figure out why this certain girl (head girl - I am sure you remember those from

    series) was hated so much. She never does anything bad, except she is quite determined to be accepted into Oxford and is very proactive and school-oriented. What is wrong with that? Can we stop bashing overachievers already?

    Then there are absent parents. Murders are happening all around the boarding school (one in its yard!), but the main character's supposedly caring parents don't bat an eye and do not bother to withdraw Rory from school.

    Or when Rory reports to the police about possibly seeing the murderer, they let her out without asking her not disclose this information to anyone and she goes out and right away blabs it out to the media.

    And my main pet peeve is that the villain, if you think of it, does not really have a reason to murder all these people.

    All these things in themselves are not bad enough to make the reading experience unbearable or reprehensible. But why weren't these laps in logic corrected? Or am I nitpicking? Maybe I should just stop reading kids' books?

    On the bright side, although

    is the first book in a trilogy, I have to compliment the author on the ending. Although the last page is slightly cliff-hangery, the book can easily be read as a stand-alone. The case is closed, the characters are in a good place. It is what you'd call a respectful cliff-hanger. I will not be coming back for more of

    's books, so it was nice to have a closure.

  • Erin

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at:

    The only thought in my head for much of the reading was that of Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore. It doesn’t do much credit to a story when the reader is perpetually distracted by a pop culture reference. You don’t see Heathcliff or Rochester being thrown around the literary world for a reason. The goal is to hook your reader, not set them in mind of other amusements. Perhaps I am too judgmental but I

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at:

    The only thought in my head for much of the reading was that of Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore. It doesn’t do much credit to a story when the reader is perpetually distracted by a pop culture reference. You don’t see Heathcliff or Rochester being thrown around the literary world for a reason. The goal is to hook your reader, not set them in mind of other amusements. Perhaps I am too judgmental but I feel this was an exceeding poor choice on Johnson’s part especially since we are talking about her protagonist. Chapter one is bad place to identify your first red flag.

    I also found Johnson’s assumptions presumptuous especially as she is an American. For example, the central character is greeted at what I assume to be Heathrow by Mr. Franks who informs her that “Some nutter’s gone and pulled a Jack the Ripper.” She barely even registers the name and doesn’t attempt to understand the reference. Maybe I am mistaken but I was under the impression that the name Jack the Ripper is what sold this book. Okay, Rory is American but we aren’t completely incompetent. She may not know the details of the case but the name would certainly ring a bell. I was similarly irked by Johnson’s need to explain the term “prefect.” Again, I know we are largely considered uncultured, ignorant and arrogant but give us a little credit. Harry Potter mania wasn’t limited to jolly ol’ England mate. To be fair I did appreciate the explanations of Bonfire Night and the local perception of pubs and alcohol in general but I would have been happier if I didn’t feel the author was insulting the general intelligence of teenage America.

    Thoroughly annoyed is not a good way to begin the third chapter of any book and things don’t get much better. The writing is mediocre but the pacing is the nail in the coffin. The story doesn’t take off until the last hundred pages but getting there like slogging up a mountain in the rain. Irrelevant anecdotes about Rory’s family, Wexford’s daily menus and occasional episodes of awkward snogging leave little room for character or plot development. Rory doesn’t go after the killer until she realizes she is a target but she also doesn’t have any genuine interest in what is going on around her. No, our insipid heroine is only relieved the threat and subsequent media circus have resulted in cancelled hockey sessions with Charlotte and Call Me Claudia. Why should a reader be interested in a story the primary character is a) not interested in and b) largely uninvolved with?

    Before I close I invite those of you own a copy of the book to turn it over. There, on the back cover you will find glowing remarks from Cassandra Clare, Ally Carter and Holly Black. Now again, I beg your indulgence and ask you to open the book to the Acknowledgments section. Here you will find the following statement:

    “To my friends, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Robin Wasserman, Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, John Green, Libba Bray, Ally Carter… who read drafts, walked me through plot problems, and talked me off of ledges.”

    I don’t know about you but I find it appalling that Johnson and publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons would stoop so low. It would be different if these were unbiased third parties or professional critics but by the author’s own pen, these are her friends. As such their opinions are irrelevant. Additionally the appearance of their feedback paired with Johnson’s admission call into question the integrity of all three women as they are essentially endorsing a piece they had a hand in creating. Bad form all around, bad form.

    At this point you may be wondering why I have issued a two star rating rather than flagging The Name of the Star a complete waste of time. The truth is I, like so many others, have a rather morbid curiosity in regards to the Whitechapel murders. The basic concepts of the story are not altogether horrid and I actually really like the idea Johnson was trying to execute. The Ripper theme wasn't as strong as I had hoped but there were a handful of chapters towards the end where I actually felt the book was getting better. This brief shining moment was subsequently followed but a train wreck but that doesn’t change the fact that for a few pages, hope existed.

    On the fence about taking on book two when it is published in the fall. If I learned anything from Anna Godberson’s Luxe series or Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy it is to listen to my gut and quit while I’m ahead. Still, I like to think authors improve with time and experience. I have yet to identify anyone who fits the description but I have been known to torture myself searching for that elusive diamond in the rough.

  • Merna

    DNF. Not bothering with an actual review.

    What a disappointing and dull book.

    You would expect a book about Jack the ripper to be an enjoyable and entertaining read.

    Though it was an absolute fail for a Jack the ripper story.

    I can't stop remembering this particular scene...

    It’s when Rory and her love interest are kissing, and they pull apart and a string of their saliva hangs in-between them or something.

    Who the fuck puts that kind of description in a kissing scene? What a turn off.

    What was

    DNF. Not bothering with an actual review.

    What a disappointing and dull book.

    You would expect a book about Jack the ripper to be an enjoyable and entertaining read.

    Though it was an absolute fail for a Jack the ripper story.

    I can't stop remembering this particular scene...

    It’s when Rory and her love interest are kissing, and they pull apart and a string of their saliva hangs in-between them or something.

    Who the fuck puts that kind of description in a kissing scene? What a turn off.

    What was the author attempting?

    A lady and the tramp? Kind of reminds me of that.

    I can't.

    Nonetheless some might enjoy this book though. Just not me.

  • Erin

    Goodreads has a great synopsis so I will not rehash the details here. Quite simply, "The Name of the Star"

    But like other reviewers, I felt there were so many chapters that served as "fillers" Pages of Rory's crazy family from Louisiana and endless details on the life of a British boarding school.

    Goodreads has a great synopsis so I will not rehash the details here. Quite simply, "The Name of the Star"

    But like other reviewers, I felt there were so many chapters that served as "fillers" Pages of Rory's crazy family from Louisiana and endless details on the life of a British boarding school.

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