*A personal note: Wow, my lack of posting is seriously out of hand! But, what can I say? All of my creative juices are being called upon to create a whole new baby. Without further ado, I will finally review a book for you!
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This is an excellent thriller. By turns I was either biting my fingernails (not literally) or laughing my head off (also a metaphor).
The basic premise is this: In modern-day London, some psycho has started recreating the murders of Jack the Ripper. Similar locations, similar victims, and similar gory details. What makes it all so freaky is that nobody can catch him. He's following a schedule, for goodness sake, and yet the police can't even get a visual. CCTV cameras pointed at the scene seem to be malfunctioning, etc. So that's the nail-biting part.
"So why," you ask, "were you laughing so hard that you had to pause for breath?" I will tell you. Our heroine, Rory Deveaux, hails from Lousiana, USA and begins the book by travelling to a London boarding school (sidenote: the reason she's going to English boarding school was well done, in my opinion). There across the pond she is always doing awkward and embarrassing things, which I frequently found funny. Then of course there is the love interest, who comes with some awkward and hilarious moments of his own.
The book was brilliantly paced, and I would have read it much faster than I actually did (three days) if I could have. In terms of characters, I found Rory charming, quirky, and easy to listen to. The new Ripper still kind of haunts me. The plot as a whole was a good balance of predictable and shocking (one really requires the other to work well, no?).
The bottom line: It was good. But maybe a little too scary for me.
The second book in the trilogy comes out in February 2013. Can anyone tell me if it's a little less disturbing? I think the fact that the most violent parts of the book were based on historical records really creeped me out.
book source: I picked this one up at KidLitCon. Many thanks to the publisher for handing out copies at Maureen Johnson's keynote address!