CITY OF GHOSTS
Written by Victoria Schwab
Published by Scholastic Press, August 28, 2018
My star rating: 5 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
No one is more shocked than me that I rated this 5 stars!! First of all, I don’t read much middle grade. I like the adventure in them, but I’m in my mid thirties and, let’s be honest, it’s a little hard for me to relate to a book when the character is the same age as my oldest child! LOL! But the second thing is that I can’t believe (and am SO happy to say) that I finally related to Victoria Schwab! I liked Vicious, but not as much as everyone else seemed to. And the Shades of Magic series is one i’ve tried to read 3 times now and never made it past the first 2 chapters. But this book was so good that I started it Monday morning and finished it by the afternoon! I really feel like this was a case of right book, right time, and I couldn’t be happier!
As far as the story goes, we have Cassidy who can see ghosts due to her brush with death. When she was pulled from the icy waters and brought back to life, she could suddenly see and feel ghosts. In fact, her best friend is a ghost! She feels the tap and pull of ghosts, and can pass through the “vale” and cross over to the time loop that the ghost is trapped in. Keeping this a secret is difficult, especially when your parents write books on the paranormal! When given the chance to make their books into a show, Cassidy (and her friend the ghost) travel to one of the most haunted places in the world – Scotland!
As much as I liked the beginning of this book, this second part when they travel to Scotland is what made me absolutely fall in LOVE! The setting was so vivid and wonderful! I wish that I could have read this while also looking at pictures of the places she was visiting. It would have made the whole thing even more spooky and picturesque. This is also where we get a little more in depth to her abilities and the ghosts themselves.
In Scotland, we get details from her parents as they’re researching and prepping for the TV show. We also get some stories and accounts from locals; either their own personal experiences, heresy, or folklore tales that they were told since they were children. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a sucker for folklore in any way, and this was right in my wheelhouse! There were “factual accounts” of the story, recounts of stories told generation to generation, and then the folklore was made real by Cassidy and her ghosts. It was so interesting to see the things that changed or remained the same throughout.
The book was also a little darker than expected! I’m so used to middle grade being fluffy stories that have a side message, or stories that are full of outlandish adventure. Sure, there was outlandish adventure, but there was also a child/parent relationship, culture, and death…… difficult and mass deaths at that! My dark soul loved every minute of it!
The pace was perfect. It was a steady hum that never seemed to have down time. It was either going at 100% or going at 200%, but never less than full speed. I was never bored or wondering when the next thing would happen.
I know that this book is the first in a series and I absolutely can’t wait for more! Knowing that her parents are filming a TV show and are looking to travel the world to discover the most haunted places, I can’t wait to see more places and meet their ghosts!!
Until next time, happy reading!