Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

YA paranormal. With secret police!

Rory Deveaux, the Louisiana girl in London, is back at Wexford Academy after a fixed twit of fate. Her crew Boo, Callum, and Stephan reunite to try and stop the madness that lies underneath London Town. Rory’s new skill plays a huge roll in the current challenge she must face that lurks beneath the cracks in the pavement. She’ll need to trust those skills and use them before all hell breaks lose. Enemies come from unexpected places, and Rory will have to learn for herself, who to trust. An exciting adventure of teen ghost sleuths.

In The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) Rory goes after a modern day Jack the Ripper, albeit a ghost. I love Rory’s voice, her crazy family history and her quirky over-talkative nature, especially when she becomes nervous. A trait I could definitely relate to. Rory has to deal with a lot since the first book, and this second addition to the series lives up to the first and pumps it up a notch.

The pressure and separation from all that is normal in Rory’s life is excruciating as she takes you through it. You feel her pain. But Rory has a lucid sense of humor. I love Maureen Johnson’s writing, very lyrical and real. Her characters are well drawn, with the simplest descriptions, making the story feel very much alive. Every character breathes life—even the ghosts.

Rory spends much of the first part of the novel trying to figure out what to do, and if she’s making the right choices. He schoolwork becomes over bearing; the weight of her problems, heavy, and she must make choices. She meets new people, some of which offer surprising alternatives to the life she’s leading. There are some wham-bam surprises that left me reeling, and heartbroken.

I’d recommend this book to all young adults who love ghost stories--with secret police! Those who enjoy reading books where the teens get the work done and dispel the world of disruptive, lingering ghosts, for the guys higher up who hide behind suits. This series is a little like Scooby Doo, for big kids. Which, I really, really like.
I CANNOT wait to dig into The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London #3), and mend my sorrow.

-- Karen

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