madnessTitle: The Madness Underneath

Series: Shades of London #2

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publish date: February 26th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

Source: Purchased

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.


I was excited when I pre-ordered The Madness Underneath. There were two big reasons for this. 1) I loved The Name of The Star and was excited to see where the story went next.

2) …it came with kick-ass stickers.

Stickers aside, I was relieved to find that my anticipation had not been for nothing. Maureen Johnson’s voice in Rory is just as fresh as ever. I wanted the girl to be my BFF from time to time because… well, I suspect Rory is secretly a Tumblr user when she explains her reason for doing something with “Because Stephen.”

The Madness Underneath is not QUITE as spooky or fast-paced as The Name of the Star. The sense of danger isn’t as omnipresent because there’s a little less mystery about the killings. The Madness Underneath is more about Rory finding her own path, while still being a hilarious ghostbuster.

One thing I appreciate with Maureen Johnson’s series is that, when we have swoony times, it’s not all about the ONE TRUE LOVE thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love those books too, but Johnson seems keenly aware of reality in that her characters as teenagers and likely will not be with the first person they date forever.

BUT in regards to OTP happiness, never have my emotions swerved so quickly in 180 degree-type turn. One minute I’m overjoyed, the next, I was SCREAMING. And then the book ended. Because I think perhaps Maureen Johnson practices reader torture in her spare time.

To sum up: I loved this book, but lord am I WAILING over the end. I need a support line to call.

Need a second opinion?

“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.” -Coffee & Wizards

“The action, horror and emotional high stakes build slowly to a literally stunning ending. No, really. I threw my book across the room.” -Mermaid Vision Books