Happy Halloween! Today is the day of dead, and supposedly the day when beings from Otherworlds can gain entry into ours. When the veil that separates our realities is thinnest! So, a few tips to avoid being eaten or kidnapped:
1. If a man or woman with a strange pallor and rather large incisors approaches your doorstep, do not let them in, no matter how much they insist. (Note: It may be wise to ingest vervain, to be on the safe side.)
2. If your dogs begin exhibiting erratic behavior and start barking wildly, do not go outside to see what all the fuss is about, because, chances are, you're going to walk smack into a werewolf.
3. And if anyone has infant children at home, be sure to line the windows with salt and leave iron nearby. You don't want to wake up with monster faerie changelings in your children's cribs.
Remember to be safe, everyone! And make sure to haul in tons of candy, because, after all, this is the only day you'll get it for free ;). Please feel free to leave comments containing pictures or fun little anecdotes about the day!
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Release Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Age Group: Older YA
Source: Library Check-Out
Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
About the Book:
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.
The eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins. She didn't notice them, of course...
As soon as the story opens up, readers are thrust right into the first found killing that parallels the early Jack the Ripper murders of the late 1800s, and Maureen Johnson does not pull her punches. It's graphic, it's gritty and chilling. Johnson immediately caught my attention with the gruesome murder, especially coming into the book with the knowledge that this has to do with the Ripper. And poor Rory Deveaux, straight from Louisiana, arrives just as it all begins, swept up into the current of "Rippermania" that soon overtakes London.
Trying to solve the identity of the enigmatic killer behind the ensuing murders that send everyone into a panic, is what sets off the edginess that will grip readers. And even when a face can be put to the murderer, readers will still be left in the dark as to the person's true identity and how it pertains to the overall story. Any suspicions conjured will be swiftly dispelled over the course of the book. And although the book starts out light enough, the atmosphere quickly grows darker and darker with each turn of the pages, much like when the shadows creep closer as the sun sets - sort of without warning. And Rory herself soon becomes a source of fascination for the wanted killer, and a magnet for danger as a result.
Rory is one of the best kinds of heroines out there - a Serious Supergirl with an HoG (or Heart of Gold). She's funny, determined, and she hates sports and loves warm Cheez Whiz! You can party with this girl, have serious conversations with her, and she takes what seems boring and turns it into something interesting. She babbles incessantly and shares comedic anecdotes on her weird family members back home. And despite how fabulous she is for being brave and sticking up for herself when people try to shoot her down, she's a real teen girl. With genuine feelings and insecurities and crushes on cute boys. I can relate even as I sit there in awe of her stupendous courage.
And besides writing an awesome heroine, Johnson manages to incorporate fun side characters and NO instaluv! Jazza is Rory's first true friend in London, and an endearing one at that. She's quiet, serious, and very loyal, with a hidden rebellious streak that makes her a little unpredictable. She's exactly what Rory needs in a strange place with strange words and customs. But that's not the end of her list of new friends. There's Boo, who shows up later in the story, a colorful person that adds a little excitement in Rory's life. And then there's also Jerome, both friend and uncertain love interest, who has an odd obsession with the Ripper murders staining various places in London. My only problem with the sort-of romance between he and Rory is the uncertainty there, it's hard to tell who Rory's going to end up with. And the romance aspect of a book is extremely important to me, and for it not to be very clearly defined knocks down my interest a bit.
Despite the lack of romance, which wasn't an overpowering issue for me, the pacing is what bothered me. With such a thrilling story being told, the right pacing needs to be set. For me that means no slow-mos. In the beginning it started out kind of slow, but that was fine, because it's basically expected when you just open the book. But once the murders began cropping up, the mystery is being unraveled, and the meetings with Callum and Stephen - two dudes you so want to do, just saying - become frequent, I needed a boost in the pacing. I can't say that this is a fast-paced story, which would've suited the plot line much better.
Overall, though, if you're looking for a deeply disturbing murder-mystery accompanied by incredible characters to delve into, The Name of the Star is what you want to pick up, a gimme-now read, if you will. I'm so happy that this will be turning into a series and I am so freaking stoked for more!
|In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, PBP books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)|