The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson Okay, I love Maureen Johnson. She is a lovely and intelligent and hilarious person. So far, I've enjoyed all the books she's written. (I'm pretty sure I've read all of them...)That said, I found The Name of the Star somewhat disappointing. I don't know, maybe I had unrealistically high expectations, and I also thought the book would be about something completely different. But, don't get me wrong. I did enjoy this book. But, I suppose it just wasn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be.First of all, I thought this book was going to be historical fiction, about Jack the Ripper. And since I hadn't seen Maureen Johnson do historical fiction yet, I was like, "OOH GOODIES. Something different!" But ... actually, this story is set in modern day. And it's not about Jack the Ripper. It's about a murderer imitating the crimes of Jack the Ripper. Wahhh. But even so, I could see how the premise could work and be something really interesting.Unfortunately, I found the first 100 or so pages of the book to be pretty ... blahhh. Our protagonist, Rory, is an American girl who goes off to London for boarding school. She knows next to nothing about England or the way the British school system works––so basically, she just tries to figure it out for about the first fourth of the book. She tries to get used to living in a different country, she makes new friends, her friends are like, "Oh hoho you silly American! Let us teach you our British ways!" There are a lot of info dumps about what England is like, what the school is like, and so forth. It's clear that Maureen Johnson either knows a lot about England and/or did a lot of research on it. And yes, of course I respect the fact that she put so much effort into looking up this information to make her story more authentic. However, that doesn't mean she had to explain so much of it in large chunks. And once we get into the actual plot, it still wasn't the most exciting. Also, it kind of unexpectedly turned into a paranormal book about halfway through. It still kept me interested for the most part, and it involved some cool ideas, but ... I don't know. It always kind of irks me when I think a book is realistic fiction and then it suddenly becomes fantastical. There was some foreshadow, but I felt like it could have been a little more obvious. I mean, I went from thinking this was historical fiction, to thinking it was a modern-day murder mystery, to figuring out that it was actually fantasy. So, that was a little confusing.But, there were aspects of the book that I liked. Although Rory isn't my favorite protagonist ever, at least she was funny and seemed realistic most of the time. Although, by the end I didn't feel like she had developed enough. She was still kind of the same person. In the ending I felt like she never really did anything. Basically, Jo saved her butt. But Rory didn't really do anything very heroic for herself or for other characters. But, judging from the ending I guess there will be a sequel...? So she still has time to grow, I suppose.And I liked most of the side characters. Boo and Jazza and Jerome were all pretty likable. (Speaking of which, I loved that part where Jerome and Rory were going through the museum analyzing all the different kinds of butts in the paintings––that is totally something I would do.) Over all, this wasn't terrible and it wasn't life-changing. It was good. Just good. I enjoyed reading it; I liked the humor and the characters and the premise (although it was a little confusingly executed). There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns to the story. There were some pacing issues, and parts/characters that could have been more developed, but I still liked the book. Although I'm not dying for the sequel (if there is one), I'd read it just to see where this goes.