GENRES: Fantasy, Magical Realism, YA
It’s a Saturday in early March in Arizona, sitting on Mom’s back patio enjoying the sunshine. It has been a wonderful trip–Grandma got to take the girl’s shopping, we all hit a wildlife park and got an African-style safari and today we are chillin’ in the sunshine. We may hit a spring training baseball game, but we may not. This is the fun of vacation.
I have had a chance to finish two books while here and loved them both. Mom joked that she hasn’t ever seen a book that I didn’t like–but I have read many books that I don’t like. I am a much more critical reader than I used to be, and I have realized I am a character-driven reader: if a character is well developed, I love the book. I think this is true for most readers.
On the plane and the first day we were here I finished “The Name of The Star” by Maureen Johnson. This was the perfect vacation read–if I were on my way to a beach, I would pack this book. Johnson does a good job of setting the scene and telling the story of Aurora or Rory, a Louisiana girl at a London boarding school for the first time who suddenly realizes she can see the dead. She is called into service when the Jack the Ripper murders are being re-created around her school, and it’s up to her and The Shades, a band of sanctioned ghost police, to stop the killings. The story has the creepy factor, but its told with humor and feeling.
“Maybe that’s what bravery is. You forget you’re in trouble when you see someone else in danger. Or maybe there is a limit to how afraid you can get, and I’d hit it.”
“The Name of The Star”” was set up for sequels, and I was happy to find out that book two, The Madness Underneath, is available. I like this set up–London is a city that has been built and rebuilt so many times that it has layers of ‘ghosts’–and Rory can help the Shades in London for awhile. After that there is the possibility that she return to Louisiana and/or New Orleans, a city with its own history of ghosts.
This is a fun read and is highly enjoyable. It’s not high literature, but it’s not suppose to be. The story won’t make you think too hard, but it will whisk you away from your day-to-day for a few hours.