City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab, Scholastic Press, An Imprint of Scholastic Inc, September 2018. ISBN: 9781338111002
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Horror, Adventure
What did you like about the book? Cassidy has more reason than most other kids her age to feel like she doesn’t belong. As far as she can tell, Cassidy is the only person around who can travel back and forth across the Veil; in other words, she can straddle the world of both the living and the dead. Since she died and came back (for all intents and purposes), she has been able to see ghosts, and travel into their realities, often seeing them relive their last memories before death. She is always accompanied by her best friend Jacob, who really is perfect to protect her from her dangerous adventures – after all, he’s a ghost as well. Cassidy’s parents write books about the paranormal, and once they score a deal to make a tv show about ghost hunting, the whole family (including Jacob and Grim the cat) pack up and head over to Edinburgh, Scotland to film the first installment. As Cassidy and Jacob explore the Scottish city, they realize there may be some things in the ghostly world that they may not know about, and that the space beyond the Veil just may be more dangerous than they had thought.
This book is beautifully written, and the author does a fantastic job of both setting the scene of Edinburgh (I’ve been a couple of times, and honestly it was as though I was walking down the streets again) while also building a ghostly world coexisting with the modern-day. Cassidy is insightful and loving, while also keeping a level-head during the more dramatic moments of the story. I think this book is the start of a series, and I am definitely on board for more of this spooky world that Schwab has created.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The only thing that really bothered me about this book was the age-range that it is advertised for. This story is aimed at 8-12 year olds, but the complexity of the horror themes really seemed more appropriate for 12+ readers.
To whom would you recommend this book? I described it as “a YA ‘Sixth Sense'” to someone, and even though the characters are 11-14, I still think it should be aimed at younger YA audiences.
Readers who enjoy horror and/or ghost stories, as well as fans of this author’s previous works would especially enjoy this book.
Where would you shelve it ? YA Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Emily Tricco, Hudson Public Library, Hudson, MA
Date of review: 7/14/18