I've been going into the library and grabbing a few books without reading the back cover or checking out reviews beforehand. This pick was another example of me judging a book by it's cover and having a completely wrong idea of what it was about....and being delightfully surprised by my wrongness.
I thought it was set in Victorian London. It's not.
And I thought it would be kind of serious and gloomy. Nope.
The Name of the Star full of humor, quirky but not outrageous characters, an interesting murder mystery, and best of all: a boarding school.
Y'all, give me a British boarding school and I am such a happy camper. It's probably some of my residual Harry Potter obsession that I will never, ever get over completely.
Not that I would want to, obviously.
By the way: I want this shirt!
|if you get this reference, comment and we will be automatic bff's|
In my town, Benouville, Louisiana (pronounced locally as Ben-ah-VEEL; population 1,700), hurricane preparations generally include buying more beer, and ice to keep that beer cold when the power goes out. We do have a neighbor with a two-man rowboat lashed on top of the porch roof, all ready to go if the water rises--but that's Billy Mack, and he started his own religion in the garage, so he's got a lot more going on that just an extreme concern for personal safety.
(Maybe it's because I live in a tiny town in the rural Deep South, but that paragraph just delighted me to no end. The Southern way to say that is: y'all, that tickled me to death!)
I was instantly a fan of Rory, the protagonist. She's smart, but in a realistic way. Her inner commentary sounds like an intelligent, funny, witty sixteen-year-old and not an adult trying to sound like a witty teen. There's a difference.
Rory describes her new world at school with interesting but not overwhelming detail. Her friends were likable, and I thought they were pretty three-dimensional characters. Although Jerome is kind of flat for me, but really, he's not that big of a player in the plot once it gets rolling.
I can't resist...Here's another great quote:
I looked at the stained-glass image of the lamb in the window above me, but that only reminded me that lambs are famous for being led to slaughter, or sometimes hanging out with lions in ill-advised relationships.
Oh, Maureen Johnson...can we hang out somtime??
I also love how the paranormal aspect of the plot takes a long time to show up. You don't know for quite a while that anything supernatural is going on. It's just Rory and her attempts to fit in at boarding school, then a murder mystery, then BAM! creepy stuff!
For me, this is a bonus. I like when the paranormal shows up later, once you've been lulled into thinking you know what's going on, then you find out there's way more happening than you thought. That's one thing I enjoyed about Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. (Which, by the way, would make an excellent Halloween read.)
Content: One thing I wasn't crazy about was the drinking in the book, which is an accepted part of Rory's life at school. At least no one got down and out drunk, just tipsy, but still I wanted to note that in the review.
There was not much profanity and nothing beyond a few kisses. It's unusual to come across a YA book that doesn't feature a heavy-handed romantic subplot. Sure, Rory and Jerome are a couple but they don't think they're soulmates destined for eternity together. They're a couple of kids who like and spending time with each other...and kissing each other. Personally, I'm pulling for her to end up with Stephen in future books in the series.
As for the Jack the Ripper aspect: eeeekkkkk!! I do NOT read scary stuff, but I was hooked on this book and couldn't put it down. It wasn't too terribly scary, although the peril did kick up several notches in the last hundred pages or so.
I'm on a roll with my Random Library Trolling. Check back soon for a review of The Shadow Society, another book I picked up knowing nothing about it beforehand and ended up liking quite a bit.
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