Warning: Possible spoilers for The Name of the Star. Thanks to the Ontario Blog Squad for the ARC!
After being nearly murdered by a ghost, most people would want to take things easy, but not Rory. Rory is tired of therapy and her parents treating her with kid’s gloves. She wants to get back in the ghost game, but her old team has disappeared. Then there’s the murder not far from Rory’s old school…
It’s hard for me to express what a fantastic thing Maureen Johnson has created with The Madness Underneath because on the surface it seems to be an ordinary contemporary supernatural young adult book. What makes it so extraordinary is the realism of setting and characters, the slightly insane twists of Rory’s view of the world, and the fact that it does not follow the cookie-cutter plot you will find in most novels of the same genre.
While reading The Madness Underneath I had the distinct impression that I had curled up inside Rory’s head and was watching her life progress through her eyes. Although I have never been to England, I felt as if I was walking along its streets with her. The characters were not characters so much as real people with real flaws and real issues.
No character is as fleshed out as the protagonist Rory whose perspectives on ordinary situations are amusing in a terrifying kind of way. The way she describes eating at a small restaurant in particular had me laughing but also made me feel a little wide-eyed because she’s right…she’s totally right but I never thought of it that way before. It’s probably a strange thing to enjoy, but I think Rory’s commentary on everyday life was one of my favourite aspects of this book. It was at those moments that I could hear Maureen Johnson’s voice the clearest.
Finally, if you’re looking for a book that you’ll be able to see every twist and turn to the plot, stay far, far away from The Madness Underneath. I pride myself on my ability to be able to reason out what will happen in a book: I’ve read enough to be able to see most plot twists by the first quarter of a book. Believe me when I say you are not prepared. You will never be prepared. You can only read and then wander around in shock as everything you held to be true is ripped away.
In short, read The Shades of London series, even if you are not regularly a fan of a contemporary or supernatural novels: Maureen Johnson’s novels are a force of their own that must be experienced to be believed.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“The second installment of the Shades of London series will astonish and scare readers of all ages, and may actually make the YA readersphere explode with emotions.” – Angel @ Mermaid Visions
“After all is said and done, I think The Madness Underneath is a solid follow up to The Name of the Star as Maureen Johnson definitely added some new plot threads to the Shades of London series.” – Bookish Comforts