'Tis the season for spooks and gore, blood and suspense -- oh, and did I mention Jack the Ripper and ghosts?
If there are any young adults looking for a good scare, I recommend picking up a copy of Maureen Johnson's new novel, "The Name of the Star." It's book one of a brand new trilogy, "Shades of London," and it's got all the necessary ingredients for a perfect Halloween treat.
Rory is from a small town in Louisiana and decides to spend a year of high school at Wexford in London. But her timing couldn't be worse. Upon her arrival, there's news of a horrendous murder, and all signs point to a Jack the Ripper copycat. As Rory tries to adjust to British life, the streets of London are filled with "Rippermania." And while there are boys and grades and the "perfects" to worry about, she's got an even bigger problem: Rory saw something that nobody else did. On the night of one of the murders, she saw the killer.
Now Rory must decide what to do with the image of his sinister face, before more innocent lives are taken, and she must decide who she can trust: her new boyfriend who seems obsessed with all things Ripper, her suspicious roommate who knows more than she's letting on, or the odd policeman who cornered her after the incident and yet doesn't quite fit the role of a cop? All the while she wonders how none of the cameras at the crime scenes captured his face, and how there are no other eyewitnesses. Rory is on the hunt now, searching for a serial killer -- a copycat, chasing after someone she's not even sure exists.
If you're looking for a holiday thrill, walk the streets of Whitechapel with Rory. I dare you to try and turn the pages fast enough.
* "The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson was published Sept. 29 by Putnam Juvenile. It retails for $16.99.