Age Group: YA
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Deveaux 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 to get back to her friends. 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.
OHMYGOODNESSTHISBOOKWASTOOGOOD You know that state after you finish an amazing book and just want to lay on the floor for three hours and think about what you just read? Because that's me right now. I can honestly say I needed The Madness Underneath today. I related to Rory on so many levels, and I knew what she was going through. I loved the characters and the ending made me so upset I just want to snot cry all over the place.
OK so, Rory is dealing with the aftermath of being stabbed at the end of The Name of the Star. She's missed three weeks of school and hasn't done ANY schoolwork. She's stressed out about failing her classes but also wants to work with the Shades still, because they're the only ones she can talk to about what she went through. Now, I know nothing about being stabbed by a ghost or whatever, but that whole "missed a ton of school and now are failing your classes and feel dumb because of it" thing? Yeah. That was me like two weeks ago. I knew the way Rory felt about her classes, and that feeling of wanting to just sit on the couch forever and ever and not face the heaps of school things you need to deal with was so accurate. I almost took this year off of school because of it. But, like Rory, I decided to get back on that horse. I even have a nasty tummy scar that no one has seen except my parents. I loved feeling like it was me in those pages. I loved seeing something similar to what I went through on paper. It felt amazing. That right there was enough for me to love this book.
But, of course, I loved everything else. I loved the characters and the therapy and the danger and the murders and EVERYTHING. Also, Stephen!!!! I love Stephen. He's so awkward and I love him and he's so wonderful. I just want to make out with his thin face and his inability to speak. I've loved him since the first book, and I really love him quite ardently. He's such a grump and I love it. I just really appreciate his character and I love everything about him.
I also love Maureen's writing style. If you follow her on Tumblr or Twitter, you probably know how funny she is. That shines through in The Madness Underneath. Like:
Also, for the record, if someone is called a Romantic, it should mean some sexy times, I think. Instead, what it really means is people in puffy shirts who probably had a lot of real-life sexytimes, by produced almost exclusively pictures of hillsides or people in dramatic poses, like pretending to be Ophelia dead in a swamp. I definitely call shenanigans on this. (p. 80)
I don't know of many authors who use the term "sexy times" in their writing. I thought it was so funny. I often found myself snickering and reading totally inapropriate passages out loud to my twelve-year-old neighbors. Fun.
This series is so dark, despite how funny it is (a contradiction, yeah, but just read it and you'll understand), and I love dark books and dark plots and GHOSTS. I love the ghost task force, and I love Callum and Boo, too. Everyone is so interesting to read about. I enjoyed learning things about people's pasts (by people I mean Stephen). I just... I'm melty. I'm goopy. My brain is a mess of mush. My thoughts are just askhfuthsjkdfmsfhoiejalksd. I just... read it. Read this series. I think I'm going to write another post for tomorrow with spoilers, because I need to talk about the ending. Talk about a cliffhanger. UGH.