This review is a few weeks late, but I originally chose this book as an antidote to tax season stress. And it worked! Thank god for books. I’ve read (and enjoyed) a few of Maureen Johnson’s books in the past and this one didn’t disappoint.
Rory Deveaux leaves Louisiana for a London boarding school, Wexford Academy, while her parents work in Bristol. In London, she’s greeted with Rippermania. There’s been a murder near the school, closely mimicking Jack the Ripper’s first victim. As the victims start to pile up over the following weeks, all of London is on the alert. When one of the murders happens on the boarding school campus, Rory is the only person who can see the culprit. Her unique ability brings her into contact with some mysterious characters and places her in the killer’s crosshairs.
Johnson’s writing isn’t the most elegant, but it’s serviceable. Her fun cast of characters and humor infused storytelling is the draw here. For a story about serial killers and ghosts, it’s a very funny book. There are a few creepy parts, but nothing too frightening which was great because I’m a wuss when it comes to scary stories. Johnson is an incredibly imaginative writer and the world building is one of my favorite aspects of the novel. It’s also refreshing to read young adult books that are realistic when it comes to relationships and friendships. There’s a light romance plot and there are no jolts of lightning or soul mates. All in all, this book was an enjoyable page-turner.