Book Review – The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

The bad thing about falling behind in your book reviews is that you can never remember which books you’ve reviewed and which you haven’t. For example, I’ve talked so much about The Madness Underneath in Top Ten Tuesdays, Teaser Tuesdays, WWW Wednesdays, and other places, I thought for sure I had formally reviewed it already. Turns out I haven’t.

So let’s begin, shall we?

First off, I just need to say that I adore Maureen Johnson. I want to be her when I grow up. And don’t tell me that, at age 34, I’m already grown up. I will stick my fingers in my ears and stick my tongue out at you. Maureen Johnson is just an awesome person. I picked up The Madness Underneath at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC (which is a cool independent bookstore – if you are any where around the Raleigh area, stop in and see them). Maureen was there for a book signing, along with Stephanie Perkins who I also love, and I got to meet them both. They are super nice, a little crazy, but that’s what makes them fun. I haven’t read all of Maureen’s books yet, but I’m going to.

madness underneathThe Madness Underneath continues the story of Rory Devereaux, a teenage girl from Louisiana living in London. In the previous book, The Name of the Star, Rory barely survives an attack from a ghost who was replicating the murders of Jack the Ripper. Rory’s parents are understandably protective and pull Rory out of school. Rory is understandably frustrated with them. She wants to go back to Wexford, not only to regain her life again, but to get back with the mysterious Shades of London, an underground police force that deals with ghosts.

Something strange happened to Rory when she nearly died. The Shades have an instrument they call a “terminus,” which they use on ghosts to make them leave this world for good. The terminii were hidden in cell phones, but they were all destroyed. Now Rory is somehow a human terminus – every time she comes in contact with a ghost, the ghost disappears forever. The Shades are very interested in this power, and they’re not the only ones.

I haven’t read very many books that are both funny, yet suspenseful as all get out. Somehow Maureen Johnson does both with this book. There are a lot of twists and turns, really cool supernatural mysteries to be solved, and an ending that I did not see coming AT ALL. Let’s just say that Rory’s new gift is about to get super inconvenient. I really liked this book and, although it wasn’t quite as good as The Name of the Star, I can’t wait to get to the next book (The Shadow Cabinet, coming sometime in 2014 according to GoodReads). So yes, check out this series. These books are spooky and fun, which is a great combination.

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