An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review at Bookcon 2018
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.
When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.
“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”
In Victoria Schwab’s latest middle-grade novel, we follow the story of Cassidy Blake — a girl who can see ghosts. Cassidy and her best friend, Jacob (who is a ghost), go to Edinburg, after being forced to tag along with her parents as they film a tv show showcasing the world’s most haunted places. While in Edinburg, Cassidy learns that there is more to her gift than just seeing ghosts and there are people who want to steal her gift.
City of Ghosts is not Ms. Schwab’s first dabble in middle-grade storytelling, but it might as well be since no one really speaks about her other middle-grade novel, Broken Ground. Much like her other books (A Darker Shade of Magic, Vicious and This Savage Song), she has a perfect balance of dialogue and descriptive prose. And her vivid storytelling translates perfectly into MG. Her characters are lovable and relatable (even though they are little pre-teens).
Knowing that Ms. Schwab is a Slytherin to the core, seeing her write a goofy brave hardcore Gryffindor was quite mind-blowing (BTW Cassidy is a Gryffindor and proud).
In the advance reader copy of the novel, Ms. Schwab says she wrote this story for “12-year-old me.” I also felt this story resonate with my 12-year-old self — wishing for an adventure but at the same time kinda not wanting it, but will still go with it if the opportunity was presented. Something Ms. Schwab also excels in is making every character memorable. No one was just there for the sake of being there, every character had a purpose and was an important part of the story.
One may be wary about approaching City of Ghosts because it is marketed as a middle-grade novel. But much like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, the story can be enjoyed by someone of any age. It is witty, it is terrifying, it is full of mystery, it is spooky, and it is magical.
This was the perfect spooky Halloween read I was waiting for. Purchase your copy now!
The quote is from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.
Personal Rating: 5/5
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018
Page Count: 272
Publisher: Scholastic Press