THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson

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After growing up in a small town in southern Louisiana, Rory is excited to spend her senior year of high school studying abroad in London.  It is a big change—living in a new culture with a strange academic system and attending a boarding school where you are stuck living with everyone in your class, whether you like them or not.  But Rory gradually finds good friends in Jazza and Jerome, and her life settles into a comfortable rhythm.  That is, until Jack the Ripper shows up.  The murders occur on the anniversaries of Jack the Ripper’s infamous attacks, and they mimic his style exactly.  But no one can see the murderer—not even on camera—except Rory.  Now her life is turned upside down as she has to figure out who the Ripper is, how she can see him, and most importantly, whether she and her friends are in danger.

What begins as a simple, realistic fiction about girls at boarding school ends a suspenseful supernatural thriller.  Starting about halfway through, I couldn’t put it down!   As usual, Maureen Johnson was spot on in her portrayal of teen relationship angst and dorm-life drama.  And her descriptions of Rory’s life in England took me back to my days of studying abroad in the UK.  This book was right up my alley—a fast-paced, character driven, fantasy-but-almost-sci-fi murder mystery.  I highly recommend it to teens who enjoy books in any of these genres!

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