Five Reasons to Read It #6: THE NAME OF THE STAR

I’ve followed Maureen Johnson on Twitter for the past several months, because the woman is ridiculously funny.  Also insightful.  However, until a few weeks ago, I’d never read any of her books, and that was starting to feel wrong. So I read:

By Maureen Johnson
Putnam Juvenile, 2011

And then I immediately read the sequel, THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH.  But here I’ll concentrate on just the first book, because concentrating is good.  

Here are five reasons to read THE NAME OF THE STAR.  For extra kicks, I shall write my reasons in the style of Johnson’s Twitter feed.

1. JACK THE RIPPER!  *glances around*  Shivery horrible sickening awful murderous JACK THE RIPPER, and the FEAR attending his crimes!  *crawls out of this blog*  *snakes around your ankles*  *drags you into a London back alley*

2. Rory, the female protagonist, has an UNEXPECTED, HUMOROUS, and TRUTHFUL VOICE.  I seem to remember her, at once point, wiping the sleepy “crap” out of her eyes. *wipes out crap* *feels better*

3. Rory’s paranormal power arises from the mundane, and I TOTALLY DIDN’T CONNECT THE DOTS until Johnson wanted me to.  *connects dots*  *reviews work*  *is satisfied*

4. Johnson’s construction of slow-growing dread is effective. I recognized the villain the second he was introduced, but the protagonist (believably) didn’t, and so I was afraid for her, and that fear grew little by little, edging up on me, making my skin crawl, because Johnson does what the best suspense storytellers do: she makes you WAIT for it.  And while you wait for the next BIG SCARY THING to happen, you get to meet FUN CHARACTERS who feel really WHOLE, and there are lots of CREEPY CLUES, and you WORRY for the characters and get ALL WROUGHT UP.  *passes out* *wakes up and eats Tostitos*

5. When I read the first chapter to my students, and I got to the part with the neck, they SQUEALED and GAGGED and then they ALL FOUGHT OVER WHO GOT TO READ IT FIRST.

*shakes fists for emphasis*

*goes off in search of more books*

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