The Madness of YA Fiction 2013

Johnson, Maureen. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, Book 2). New York: G.P. Putnam’s, 2013. 978-0-399-25661-5. $17.99. Gr. 7+.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award nominee, The Name of the Star,  Rory Deveaux has survived her attack by “the Ripper”.   As Rory tries to adjust to life in Bristol, miles away from Wexford and her friends, she learns that her survival not only left her with a mean scar, but also a terminus.  Only this time the terminus is not a cell phone; she has become the terminus.  After weeks of therapy, Rory’s therapist suggests that she return to London and school to help with her healing.  Rory knows something’s up when, in the middle of the night, Stephen, head of the secret Shades police, takes her from Wexford to the London underground.  As Rory’s “gift” is displayed, an inner struggle begins, a struggle that leads her to Jane, a new therapist who helps Rory overcome herself, but does she really?  Maureen Johnson once again brings to life the paranormal world of the Shades, the secret ghost-fighting police force, while manipulating Rory’s teenage world of school, boyfriends, friendships, emotions, and growth.  This is a great novel to pair with exploration into the paranormal, cults, Greek mythology, and teenage maturation issues.

Fantasy (Paranormal)                         Erin Parkinson, Lincoln Jr/Sr High School, Ellwood City

I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, The Name of the Star.  I found Johnson’s grasp of character intertwined with the paranormal only added to her grasp of the plot and the conflicts within and around Rory.  Although I enjoyed this second novel, I did not enjoy it as much.  If I had to rate it it’s about a 4 out of 5 stars.  It was good, but it lacked the intrigue of the first novel.  The Madness Underneath focused more on character than plot. It was somewhat angsty, but still delivered enough interest in the characters and story to want to finish it.  I’m looking forward to the next installment in the Shades of London series because Johnson can really do something amazing, and I’m hoping she does.  Happy Reading!


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