The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star

3.88 (52,673 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Thrilling ghost-hunting teen mystery as modern-day London is plagued by a sudden outbreak of brutal murders that mimic the horrific crimes of Jack the Ripper.

"A gorgeously written, chilling, atmospheric thriller. The streets of London have never been so sinister or so romantic." Cassandra Clare, author of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS

Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer's identity.

"Rippermania" grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery...

Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 25mm | 270g
  • HarperCollins
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • edition
  • 0007398638
  • 9780007398638
  • 45,959

Review quote

"A gorgeously written, chilling, atmospheric thriller. The streets of London have never been so sinister or so romantic." Cassandra Clare, author of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS

"An unputdownable thrill ride that will leave you gasping, laughing, and dreaming of London."
Ally Carter, bestselling author of the GALLAGHER GIRLS series and HEIST SOCIETY

"This book made me want to give up everything, move to London, and fight ghosts."
Holly Black, bestselling author of MODERN FAERIE TALE series

Praise for 13 Little Blue Envelopes

"Equal parts poignant, funny and inspiring, with a delicious fairytale ending."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Johnson's writing is sophisticated and humorous, her characterisations pitch perfect."
Kirkus Reviews
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About Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson was born in Philadelphia, but soon ran off to New York City to study writing and drama at Columbia University. Along the way, she served up hamburgers in the company of mad scientists and talking skeletons in New York, worked in a bar in Piccadilly Circus, nervously worked alongside five tigers in Las Vegas, and once got mixed up with the entire cast of a major West End musical. She is the author of The Key to the Golden Firebird and The Bermudez Triangle. You can visit Maureen online at
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Rating details

52,673 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 31% (16,240)
4 38% (20,184)
3 22% (11,455)
2 6% (3,258)
1 3% (1,536)

Our customer reviews

I have finally joined in the modern Rippermania - took me long enough! The Jack the Ripper story Maureen Johnson created is one of a kind. It's not directly a retelling of the most famous murdering phantom of our history, but a new kind of paranormal, mysterious, yet romantic, boarding-school story with a ghostly chill and thrilling modern day crime case. Maureen really did consider most of my favourite YA elements, man she's good! The story begins with a murder comitted in frank sight of a CCTV camera, with the murderer remaining absent on the screen, invisible, like a ghost. And ghosts are definitely a major part of this very unconventional ghost story. I really liked the way Maureen Johnson rolled up the new Ripper’s story and how he came to commit all those murders, his methods and his motifs. Maureen drew a pretty realistic picture of what such a thing as a new Ripper would mean to a city like London. Of course THE NAME OF THE STAR wouldn’t be as intriguing and gripping as it is, if Maureen Johnson hadn’t processed the original Jack the Ripper cases and embedded them into Aurora's story in small and scary portions. I actually had to look up the crime scene picture of the Mary Kelly murder and a shudder went down my spine. I’m glad that Maureen wasn’t too reluctant on holding back the gory details for the modern day murders in London. THE NAME OF THE STAR resembles a brilliant combination of wise chosen YA elements. The boarding school setting means a new start and an adventurous year abroad for Rory. Boarding schools are a symbol of romantic escapades, cat fights and the beginning of new friendships. So Wexford as Rory’s new home for the next months was a perfect choice to set up the story. It’s located in London and with that makes it the center of public attention during the ongoing murder series. The crime and mystery factor of THE NAME OF THE STAR are pretty high set, although I wasn’t as scared as I hoped to be. The 1st person point of view by Rory is supplemented by a few scenes from a 3rd person perspective on a witness or victim getting in contact with the new Ripper. They add to the overall touch of the murderer's creepy everpresence in the entire city of London. The secondary characters are to some extend just as peculiar and amiable as Rory. We even get some romantic sparks. Can you believe it? A boarding school romance in London, hooray! I have to admit though, that I hoped for Rory to run off with a different guy out of her circle of new friends. Something about Stephen made me instantly feel drawn to him and I’m convinced Rory should feel that pull, too! The secret organization of ghost hunters he's a part of visibly enrichens the whole story. I always imagined Rory to be like Maureen herself. Slightly eccentric, smart and jumping in front of a killer to safe her friends before even thinking about it for a second. She was exactly the right character choice for the story of the name of the star and I’m looking forward to new revelations about ghosts, her abilities, the organization behind the ghost hunter Team of Boo, Stephen and Callum and more crime cases. 5/5 ***** THE NAME OF THE STAR – Supremely satisfying and delightfully spooky! This book gives you the creeps, but not in a bad way. Maureen Johnson invented some kind of pleasant creeps, that make you want to read on and on for the entire night, regardless the gory details and machinations of a crazy murderer mastermind. I could read a whole shelf full of these kind of more
by MissPageTurner
(Source: Purchased used from 17-year-old Rory (Aurora), is heading from New Orleans to London for her final year at school, after her parents took teaching placements at Bristol university in the UK. Starting at her new school 'Wexford', Rory encounters the usual problems of fitting in in a new school/new country, but what she doesn't expect is the sudden appearance of a serial killer in London, whose murders seem to mimic those of Jack the Ripper. With the murders seemingly unsolvable, and getting closer and closer to Wexford where Rory is studying, she's caught up in the mess when she becomes a witness, and possibly the only person to have seen the man they think is the copycat. Why are the police so baffled though? Why is Rory the only one to have seen the killer? And what does the name of the star have to do with it? This book was a mixture of murder mystery, and paranormal teen fiction, and it was fun trying to guess what would happen next! Rory was a great main character, and I loved her *****. I loved how she brought her southern charm to England, and I loved how she wasn't afraid to have sausages and doughnuts for breakfast! I loved that the little paranormal quirk that she picked up happened whilst she was in London, and wasn't something that she had always had, and I loved how strange everything was! I totally got her shock when she discovered what had happened to her and what she could now do! I liked the other characters in this book, especially the ones who turned out not to be exactly who Rory thought they were! Boo was a bit of a strange character, and she certainly kept me guessing, and Alistair turned out to be quite special too! I liked the storyline in this book, and I liked how it blended several different genres - contemporary, paranormal, and ghost story. I thought the three were blended together pretty well, and I was certainly kept guessing as to who was who and what the hell was going on! I also liked the little surprise at the end, which I'm guessing will lead into book 2. I also thought the author did a good job of making the setting feel English, which I gather was in part due to her spending some time over here! Overall; an interesting mix of paranormal and murder mystery. 7 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
The Name of the Star, an unusual name for a mysterious book. When I learned that this book was surrounded by Jack the Ripper and its myths. I thought it will be the usual, 'paranormal guy' who happens to be Jack the Ripper and he gets with 'normal girl' and they fall in love. Someone comes between them and they fight for their love and win. But no, this is nothing like that. Protagonist Aurora, moves to the UK when her parents accept teaching jobs at a university in Bristol, while she moves to Wexford, a train ride away, to finish her senior year of Highschool. Little did she know that she arrives in the UK just after a murder has spiked up the media, and was labeled the "Return of Jack the Ripper". The events happen and Aurora (or Rory) is caught in between as she becomes the prime witness in one of the murders as she saw the suspect no one else could. My low expectations were crushed as I read this go on about how someone is repeating every murder Jack the Ripper has committed. I loved the mystery and feeling like a detective trying to analyse the evidence and predict where Jack will strike next. But this isn't your normal YA mystery. It has its own twist which I saw coming in some sense, but didn't know for sure, until they had to admit to it all. The book was thrilling though a little gory near the end of the book. As Aurora gets in tune with her unknown abilities, she was questioned by the police then again by another, who seemed rather shady. Everything falls into pieces as you enter the middle of the book, I especially loved how the book mentioned actual events and people. All this made me think. What if it happens again? What if Jack the Ripper returns? An unputdownable mystery filled with suspense and thrill that will sure to run chills down your spine. A perfect mix of mystery, paranormal, and suspense to feed my hunger of the more
by Najla Qamber
When teenager Aurora (Rory) Deveaux flies from Louisiana to London to start life at a boarding school she's entering a new, and much cooler world. All her worries about fitting in and having to play hockey are soon overshadowed by a real threat though. Horrific murders are being committed in London. Murders that copy those committed by Jack the Ripper more than a century ago. Murders that bring panic and excitement, Rippermania, to London and which the police are at a loss to solve since the perpetrator manages to remain invisible from the many security cameras in the city. After one such murder Rory sees a man who may well be new Ripper, but her friend Jazza, who is with her at the time doesn't see anybody at all. After taking her statement the police appear to lose interest in Rory and what she saw, but she does find herself with a new and rather strange roommate and before long Rory discovers some disturbing facts about herself, about the world around her and finds herself up to her neck in a potentially very dangerous murder investigation. This book was a very pleasant surprise. I knew absolutely nothing about Maureen Johnson before reading this book, although my daughter had been telling me she wanted to read books by this author for ages. It turns out that Johnson is an inspired story-teller. This book is imaginative, original and fascinating. While it deals with a lot of teenage issues you'll find in most young adult fiction, it seamlessly includes supernatural elements as well as a bone chilling mystery. I found myself compulsively turning the pages, rooting for Rory and her friends while also laughing at loud on several occasions. I am delighted that this is the first Shades of London book, although it is a bit frustrating that, since I read this book before its publishing date, it looks like I'll have a long wait before I'll be able to read the next one. A sequel for which Johnson created the perfect cliff-hanger in the last more
by Marleen Kennedy
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