The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)
by Maureen Johnson.
I’ve followed this author, Maureen Johnson, on Twitter for quite awhile (she actually is one of my favorite Twitter personalities), so I thought it was high time I actually checked out her writing. I started with this series, a YA paranormal mystery because hey – YA and paranormal and mystery are all things I really like. And it did not disappoint. The Name of the Star starts out with Louisiana high schooler Rory settling in to life at a boarding school in modern-day London for the year her parents are working in England. She’s making friends, falling in love with London’s old charm, and inadvertently getting entangled with a murder investigation. A series of murders mimicking the famous Jack the Ripper style have police baffled, with no leads – until Rory comes forward about the man she saw when out late at night. A man no one else could see, and who apparently is now targeting her.
So begins a suspenseful race to solve the mystery, complete with secret police, danger, ghosts, and even a wee bit of romance. Rory as a narrator is delightful – I didn’t get a Louisiana vibe, really, but her teenage snark and unique voice are spot on. The mystery plot was that nice balance between just-surprising-enough and not-too-out-there. And the end was satisfying on many levels, while still leaving it open to the next book (which is also good, by the by – I’m now awaiting book 3). I didn’t care too much for the romance plot line (I found the guy in question a bit annoying) but it was a minor point in the book. And I loved how strongly the London accent came through in certain characters. Overall, a great introduction to this author’s work, and I’ll be checking out her other books.