Last year I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. I don’t generally like ghost stories (fact: I am a scaredy-cat) or murder stories (remember that thing about me being a scaredy-cat?). But I do like Maureen Johnson, so I picked it up and loved it. Like most Americans, I am conditioned to love all stories set in British boarding schools. I also appreciated that the SPOOKY GHOSTLINESS was set off by Maureen Johnson’s humor. So, if you haven’t read The Name of the Star yet, go grab that before its sequel, The Madness Underneath comes out on February 26th! Seriously, go, I’ll wait.
Okay. Hello. I have read a couple other reviews of The Madness Underneath that note that the first half is “slow,” but I really appreciated the pacing. Like, Name of the Star ended with Rory being near-fatally stabbed. Give her a break. Rory’s concerned parents, her unproductive therapy sessions, her long-distance boyfriend and her return to school–these all felt realistic and emotionally satisfying. Sometimes paranormal books/movies seem to overlook the fact that their characters have gone through some terrifying events. And she’s been kicked out of the Shades, the undercover ghost police squad, so she has no one to talk to who really understands what she’s gone through. Not in the regular teenagery “no one understands me” way, but like, literally, no one else understands that she can talk to ghosts. And also has the unique ability to destroy ghosts just by touching them (acquired during the events of Name of the Star). Still, it’ll take more than that to keep Rory down, and she ends up escaping from a ghost-obsessed cult and rejoining the Shades, where they uncover severe ghostly problems. Mad ghost problems underneath London, you might say.
Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that I read this book nonstop in one whole day and then I had nightmares that night and I am now like, 75% sure there is a troublesome ghost in my home. Despite these adverse side effects, I greatly enjoyed reading The Madness Underneath and am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
Reviewed by: teen librarian Renata
Recommended for: readers who ain’t afraid of no ghosts