Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title:  The Name of the Star
Author:  Maureen Johnson
Series:  Shades of London #1
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin
Publication Date:  September 29, 2011
Pages:  372
Format/Source:  Hardback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery

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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Full of Humor and Horror…

This was my very first Maureen Johnson book, even though I’ve owned several of her books for years now.  And I was so pleased to see that her humor that I’ve come to know via Twitter is all over the pages of The Name of the Star. She has that kind of humor that I love and wish I could pull off myself.

And I know this book is about a ghost who kills people, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting it to be so creepy!  I was totally freaked out by some parts, and still get the shivers just thinking about it!

I also loved that this book was set in London.  London is one of my favorite cities in the world, and this book totally made me want to visit there again ASAP!  It was also really cool to see the differences between the American and English school systems.  Johnson did a great job showing the new things that Rory experienced just by being in England, without making it seem like a big infodump or cultural lesson.

Great Quotes…

I loved the writing in The Name of the Star, and wrote down several quotes. Here are a few of my favorites:

“We do have a neighbor with a two-man rowboat lashed on top of the porch roof, all ready to go if the water rises–but that’s Billy Mack, and he started his own religion in the garage, so he’s got a lot more going on than just an extreme concern for personal safety.”
“I come from people who know how to draw things out.  Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death.”
“I am American.  People will assume I’m armed.”
Bonus Points…
Maureen Johnson gets some of my Bonus Points for the following reasons:
  • A map in the front of the book = 50,000 points
  • A Doctor Who reference = 50,000 points

My rating for The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson:

More like 4.5 stars.  I loved the humor, the suspense, and the creepiness factor.  The book was wrapped up at the end, but also left open for the sequel, which I can’t wait to read!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Penguin Group
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. bookscleverness

    June 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I loved this one, too! This book made Maureen Johnson one of my favorite authors. Her humor was spot on and I was surprised just how well it meshed with the creepiness and gore of the book. Great review – I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much! :)

  2. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley)

    June 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Although I have the first two books in this series on my shelf, I haven't read either of them yet! WHY WHY WHY? I'm not sure exactly. But maybe I'll wait til the fall since you mention they are creepy…I didn't realize they were a bit humorous! I love well-placed humor in books!

    Also, this is pretty funny: –> "I am American. People will assume I'm armed."

    Thanks for sharing this. (:

  3. Brandi Kosiner

    June 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Humor and the setting sounds like it made this one great

  4. fakesteph

    June 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I loved this one and I'm so glad you did, too. I think this is the book that most captures the humor I've come to expect on Twitter, but I LOVED Suite Scarlet, too. Oh man, did I love Suite Scarlet.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      June 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I own Suite Scarlet! I'll have to read that one soon!

  5. Alexia561

    June 29, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Great review! I can't believe I haven't read any of Maureen's books yet, as I love her sense of humor! Even though this one is a bit creepy, I love that it's set in London (my favorite city too!) and that there's even a Dr. Who reference! Need to read this one!

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