The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Published September 2011
Summary: Rory Deveraux moves to England to attent a boarding school in London’s poshest neighborhood. As soon as she arrives killings like the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders begin. When Rory is the only witness to see the murderer she is forced into a world she doesn’t understand and suddenly she has trouble knowing what is real.
Bechdel Test?: Not even close to passing. Rory lives with two female roommates but most of their conversations revolve around boys or gossip. Also Rory’s mother doesn’t appear in the book.
Series Potential?: Eh. I’m sure that Johnson could write a sequel but I don’t like any of the characters enough to follow them forward.
This book had everything going for it in my mind: British goodness, a connection to Victorian London, a central female character, boarding school, cool supernatural elements. Unfortunately it just didn’t all come together. Honestly, the only reason I kept reading was the England/Jack the Ripper connection. Jack the Ripper has been a bit of a hobby of mine for many years now; I even wrote a paper on how his crimes changed British journalism!
The characters in The Name of the Star were flat and SPOILER ALERT I really don’t love the way the ghost concept was used. I’m an equal opportunity supernatural YA reader (and I loved the Mediator series) but the whole concept didn’t work for me.
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