Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

So, I absolutely loved The Name of the Star, and when I got my hands on this ARC, I literally jumped up and down with glee. (Read my review of book 1: here). Seriously, if you have not read the first book, and you like YA books that deal with ghosts, ghost hunting, mysteries, and or London, you absolutely need to read it. This series, while supernatural, still maintains all of the charm, embarrassment, and humor of the great contemporaries that Maureen Johnson writes too.
(I am about to spoil pieces of book 1, so stop reading if you haven’t read the first one yet). The first book ended with Rory being attacked by the Jack the Ripper copycat serial killer (that only a select few could see). Getting almost murdered by a serial killer, dead or alive, has its consequences. For Rory, it means being pulled out of her competitive school in London and taken to live with her parents in Bristol, where she can attend plenty of therapy sessions.
Rory had moved to London in the first book to attend school while her parents worked their new jobs. She stood out as being not just American, but from the south. Unfortunately for her, after an embarrassing choking incident, she realized she was able to see dead people. Apparently, when you survive a near death experience, you become gifted with the ability to “see.” And school can be really hard when you are the only one seeing a certain deadly serial killer.
After some serious therapy, Rory’s psychologist tells her parents that she thinks it would be best for Rory to go back to school. With a little convincing Rory is placed back in the setting of her attack, where finals are in full swing, and where she realizes just how desperately behind she is in her education. Not much has changed besides the routine Ripper tours that now take place, the drastically improved and modernized security system installed in the school, and the relationship status of Rory and Jerome, which now would be: dating.
It doesn’t take Rory long to realize that her abilities have changed since her attack too. She now works as a human terminus. She can kill ghosts permanently just by touching them, and with a ghost-hunting secret police force lacking ghost-killing weapons partly due to her, of course there needs to be a reunion! On top of being able to kill ghosts now by simply touching them, Rory has become more aware of other supernatural instances. She finds different clues that link current murders happening in her neighborhood to the Ripper copycat murders earlier.
Between trying not to fail out of high school, proving to her parents and therapists that she’s okay, maintaining a relationship with Jerome, and helping her secret friends rid London of unwanted ghosts, Rory also finds the time to investigate her school’s history, put some scary clues together, learn who really killed the bartender at the bar down the street, and fall in love with someone else.
There’s more death, more ghosts, more romance, and more mystery in this sequel, and I loved it! There were tons of hilarious, sarcastic therapy sessions! There’s also a kidnapping, a creepy supernatural cult, drugged baked goods, visits to mental institutions, and lots of growing up for Rory in this book.
At first, after finishing this book, I would have said I hated it…I’m just a little distraught from a rather shocking ending. I won’t say what happens, but just be prepared to be shocked, and well…distraught. Seriously, distraught. But, I’m glad I have this blog and the chance to seriously think about and review the book as a whole because I didn’t hate it at all. I loved it. I really did. I can’t let that ending spoil my overall love for the genius that is Maureen Johnson. I won’t let it ruin anything.
I don’t know how I will be able to wait for a book three. I seriously do not know how I will be waiting for this. What an ending! I give this one a 9/10 only because of how distraught I was, and because I was hoping for a little more strength from Rory. I get that bad things happened to her in book 1, but I really kept needing her to take back her life better and not keep making stupid decisions. This takes the whole book…but at least I know I will love her in book 3 (hopefully)!

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