Reading...The Shades of London

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

Rory's parents are law professors in Louisiana who decide to take an overseas teaching exchange opportunity during Rory's senior year. Rory's all set to spend the year at a boarding school in London, and she brings Southern charm and some killer story-telling abilities (she's got a lot of material to work with) to her new school. She's busying doing the typical make-friends-study-flirt-and-make-out-with-a cute-classmate thing, when a serial killer copying Jack the Ripper begins terrorizing London. And about that time, Rory has a near-death (almost choking on some dinner) experience gives her "the sight." This new "gift" opens up a whole new side of London, and brings a lot of complications to her life.

The Name of the Star
and The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson are fun mysteries. Johnson's writing style mixes straight-forward, down-to-earth prose with a pinch of wit, and Rory's a great narrator. She's a teenager who ends up dealing with some crazy stuff -- so of course there are times I want to smack some sense into her. But her flaws are realistic, and help her seem like a fully dimensional character. The Madness Underneath is a close sequel to The Name of the Star, picking right up where the reader left off, and it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger.

Bottom line: if you're in the mood for a not-to-creepy-ghost-mystery, check them out.