After her parents decide to move from a small town in Louisiana to England, Rory Deveaux arrives at her new boarding school in London. Faced with a brand new culture and a large bustling city, Rory has problems fitting into this new way of life. However, there are more pressing issues at hand, such as the recent murders that mimic the style of Jack the Ripper, the most infamous murderer in all of England. Rory is sucked into the case when she sees a man in the school grounds on the night of one of the murders. But why did her friend Jazza, who was with her the whole time not see him too? There are people. People who only Rory can see. But who are they, what do they want, and why can only she see them? Rory must seek to find the truth of her new abilities, and along the way, solve the Jack the Ripper case once and for all.
I've always wanted to read some of Maureen Johnson's books, but have only recently done so. This first book in the Shades of London series is both fascinating and exciting. Rory is pulled into a world she never knew existed, where supernatural creatures roam the streets of London, unseen by all but a select few, including Rory. I really loved the characters, especially Alistair, as although he was not one of the main characters I found him funny and kind. I also really liked Stephen and overall just wanted to give him a hug. The plot is exciting and fast paced. I have always been interested in Jack the Ripper, so I found it really interesting that this story focused around a character claiming to be Jack the Ripper. There is a mixture of suspense, comedy and grief. There is some romance between Rory and Jerome, but the story does not focus on this sub plot too much, which I loved as many YA books seem to think that romance has to be a key plot point. I loved that there were some strong female characters, particularly Boo. I was surprised that my initial dislike of Boo disappeared as more information was revealed about her, which is rare for me as my first impressions of a character are usually what I stick by until the end. I liked the way that Boo introduced Rory to the world of the Shades, and how she had no choice but to adapt. I really enjoyed this book overall, and recommend it to any fans of YA fantasy.