I See Dead People. They’re in London.


Maureen Johnson’s novel, The Name of the Star

This book was an nice change of pace for me. A straggler into November from my seasonal “Halloween reading,” this YA book deals with an American girl from Louisiana who travels to a London boarding school for her senior year of high school. There, in addition to the many staple YA characters she encounters, she finds herself in the geographic center of a crime spree which features a repetition in nearly exact detail (time, place, victims) of the notorious crimes of none other than Jack the Ripper. How will she fit into her new environment? Why has she drawn the attention of the new Ripper? Will she survive? Where did her “strange” new roommate come from?

I should also mention also that this novel is the first in a series, the “Shades of London” series. It can be read independently, however, and you can look into the subsequent works if your reaction to this one leads you in that direction.

I enjoyed it, as I have most of the YA novels I’ve read the past couple years. (perhaps the fact that I only try one after it has first been vetted by my fellow book bloggers has something to do with this? 🙂 ) One element that I really liked was a surprise near the end when “the cavalry that comes over the hill” to intervene on behalf of our heroine was NOT what I was anticipating. At all.

Have you read this book? Or any others by Johnson? If so, I’d like to hear what you think. If you’re looking for an easy, scary – but fun – read, you might want to give this one a try.