City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Published by: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Page Count: 272
Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.
So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.
And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.
“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”
As I travel further into the worlds Victoria creates, I simply fall in love with how creative her writing has evolved over the years. If you’re looking for a spooky yet adorable ghost story, pick up this middle grade paranormal treat!
City of Ghosts is a quick and effortless read. Yet it explores a multiplex of situations you may not realize children face. Cassidy Blake sees beyond our world. After a near death experience, she now talks to the dead. And all she wants to have some quiet time with her best friend Jacob, who happens to be a ghost himself. But her parents drag them to Edinburgh, Scotland, when they land a TV gig. Now, she must learn to control her gift so she can survive the most the haunted city in the world.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Unfortunately, I don’t find many. So when I picked up this middle grade novel, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy reading it. But I underestimated the magic Victoria weaves into her storytelling. She turns a quiet and a strange main character into a loveable one. And she lets you remember your love of a great spooky tale.
This coming-of-age book will pull at your heartstrings. It focuses more on the plot. However, the characters are what sells me. Cass possesses a rather unique ability that not only allows her to see spirits but also lets her pass through the Veil, the ghost’s side of our world. I loved discovering this main character. She’s shy, and she’d rather spend alone time with her ghost friend, Jacob, who saved her life and also brings her back from the Veil, when its pull is too strong for Cass to fight. He’s one character who will keep you laughing throughout the night.
One surprising aspect of the book is the parents. I’ve read many novels where the parents aren’t present in the storytelling. But Victoria introduces them early on, and they play a pivotal role in it as well. Even though they’re paranormal investigators, they don’t know their daughter communicates with ghosts.
Victoria also combines local folklore into her writing by introducing the Red Raven, a ghost who steals children. I loved this antagonist. Her backstory story will send chills down your spine. I also enjoyed how she brings a dark tone to the book. Now, Lara, another girl who sees spirits, is insistent to teach Cass how to send ghosts to the afterlife. But our leading lady is hesitant to learn such a trick. How can she when her friend is a ghost?
Victoria never ceases to impress me with her storytelling. She captures your attention and doesn’t let go until the very end. Her enthralling writing drags you into an atmospheric setting that not only captivates you but also freaks you when you aren’t expecting it. Middle grade novels may scare you away, but give this one a chance. Victoria will charm you as much as she has done with me.
“Every time I get nervous or scared, I remind myself that every good story needs twists and turns. Every heroine needs an adventure.”