Our May Brunch Book Club discussion was another full house! Joining Jenn (Lost in a Great Book) & I this month were Chandra (@sakuralovestea), Kate (@kateplummer), Ardo (A Wordsmith) and Christa (More Than Just Magic). Meeting at The Artisan Baker in midtown Toronto, we were excited to try their brunch menu as much as we were looking forward to seeing each other to discuss the book. I had been wanting to go anyway for my Eggs Benedict Tour, so this was a perfect all-encompassing solution!
As per usual, there’s a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING since we discuss our May read of Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star.
Jenn was running a bit late due to crazy Sunday morning traffic so we ordered first and she arrived just as our food was arriving at the table. While Chandra and Jenn both knew it was a paranormal book, some of us had no idea. Kate and I both thought it was a real person and that it was a “copycat killer” or something. Even with the ghost factor, Ardo was hoping it was actually the ghost of Jack the Ripper though Jenn found the actual killer ghost to be pretty crazy and creepy in his own right.
Kate mentioned about how it felt like two very different novels and we agreed. It started like a boarding school book at first (which many seemed to like) and then had a very disjointed jump into the paranormal side. Like boarding school meets ghostbusters. For Kate, Ardo & I, it was our first Maureen Johnson book and we had all followed her on Twitter beforehand. Kate and Chandra said how the first half of the book felt like there were moments of Maureen’s Twitter zaniness coming through and almost trying to be clamped down so it’s not too cray-cray since it’s supposed to be a scary ghost killer book.
Ardo brought up the point about the media circus and Kate said it made her think how other big murderous moments in history would have played out if it happened in present day (ie. Ted Bundy, etc.) I gave the example of the Boston bombings as the most recently example, with the media and everyone on social media being helpful but also being a detriment with so many speculations and falsities circulating around. That’s why the people who were wrongly named as suspects are now suing the paper that named them – and rightly so.
It felt a bit weird at times that her school friends kind of dropped out of the story for the second half, and with the injury to the bitchy girl, Jenn thinks that the sequel may involve her and not being able to handle being able to see ghosts now too. I’m curious as to where the sequel will go since the big theme of this first one was Jack the Ripper. Where will the second book go and what will the feel of that one be like, given that this first one had two very distinct vibes.
Overall, we liked it. Chandra said that judging by the reactions on Twitter, the sequel leaves off with a crazy cliffhanger that has people wanting to throw the book across the room. This certainly piqued our interest and Christa thinks that maybe she’ll wait till the third book is out before reading the two at the same time in that case.
Will you be joining us for our June & July read? June is Unearthly by Cynthia Hand and July is Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry!