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Book Review: The Madness Underneath

Grade: A

When young-adult author Maureen Johnson published her most recent novel, “The Madness Underneath,” she admitted she was looking for certain reactions from her readers. Without giving away any spoilers about how the novel ends, tweets from readers came pouring in with their reactions on the end of the novel. The readers, yet to finish the novel, are pondering what will happen to the heroine as well as everyone she is involved with.

“The Madness Underneath” is the second book in the Shades of London series, a paranormal, young-adult novel focusing on Rory Deveaux, an American student going to school at Wexford Academy, a boarding school in the heart of London.

The first novel of the series, a Jack the Ripper copycat killer is going through London, mimicking the murders of one of London’s famous serial killers. While the identity of the killer cannot be figured out, Rory and a trio of three undercover agents figure out who the murderer is. Rory is the last victim the newest Ripper attempts to kill.

But what is the paranormal aspect of that? Rory and her trio of friends have the ability to see ghosts after near death experiences. But, without ruining more of the book, details will be spared. Because of events in the first book, Rory is sent back to London to figure out the newest wave of deadly paranormal activity.

Johnson’s quirky writing style keeps the readers deeply interested in what happens with the characters, along with the sudden change in plot, which also keeps the readers on the edge of their seats, caught up in what is going to happen next with Rory. It does not take much to become involved with the reading, hoping for the best, but expecting the worse to happen.

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