ARC Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Posted August 23, 2018 by Madalyn || 12 Comments

ARC Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria SchwabCity of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Published by Scholastic on August 28, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Victoria Schwab does it again! I mean, is this woman even capable of writing a bad (or even subpar) book?

Though I’m not normally a middle grade reader, I will read anything with Schwab’s name on it. I am so glad I picked up City of Ghosts, because this is exactly the kind of middle grade story I’ve been missing.

City of Ghosts follows our protagonist, Cassidy Blake, after her parents move their family to Edinburgh, Scotland for the summer to film a TV show all about ghosts and the paranormal. The only problem? After a drowning accident the previous year, Cassidy can see ghosts. And also happens to have a best friend who’s a ghost. Not exactly a welcome trait in one of the world’s most haunted cities.

Cassidy herself was a character I loved reading about. I saw a lot of my preteen self in her. Her interactions with her ghost best friend, Jacob, were my favorite. Her reluctance to use her gift and the anxiety it causes her felt totally plausible to me. I especially loved seeing Edinburgh through her eyes, since I was around her age when I first visited that city. She gets to experience all the magical, historical, and awe-inspiring parts of the city, along with the paranormal and upsetting ones.

Speaking of, the setting itself felt incredibly atmospheric. The city of Edinburgh felt almost like a character in and of itself, and Schwab did a wonderful job of making the city jump off the page. We, as readers, get to visit all the cool, famous sights along with Cassidy and her family.

City of Ghosts was sufficiently spooky, without being too scary for a middle grade audience. I definitely got goosebumps a few times while reading this– I mean, no matter how old you are, malicious ghosts are always gonna be a little unsettling. We also got a bit of an adventure plot, as in most middle grade novels, but the book as a whole felt a bit more introspective than other similar MG titles.

Overall, I think City of Ghosts is a must-read if you’re a fan of Schwab’s previous work, and/or you’re a devoted reader of middle grade. I can’t wait to read future books in this series!


Have you read City of Ghosts? What’s your favorite middle grade book?

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Madalyn

Madalyn is a 20-something music student and lifelong lover of reading. When she's not reading or singing, you're likely to find her drinking coffee, traveling, or buying more lipstick than one person could possibly need.
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12 responses to “ARC Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

  1. Becca

    This was a fantastic review! I preordered my copy even though I’m not a middle grade reader. I just love V.E.Scwab that much. Sounds like I won’t be disappointed. Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. I preordered City of Ghosts this morning! I’m not usually a middle grade reader but I love all of Schwabs books and I can’t wait to read this one! Great review

  3. I somehow missed that this was a middle grade book. I’ve only read one other book by this author, but really enjoyed it and I do like a good middle grade book every now and then. I’ll have to check it out!

  4. I just read Vicious and I’m now in love with her writing. While I rarely read middle grade for fear that it just won’t work for me unless it’s fantasy, this one appeals to me. And I want to keep reading her books, regardless of the genre. Great review. Glad you liked this book!

  5. I’m not really an MG reader but I have to say seeing Schwab’s name on a book is enough to convince anybody, right? I know I’ve seen a couple of folks grumble about how young the MC felt but that had me rolling my eyes because its MG, what do they expect? It sounds like an interesting read and I’m dithering over reading, I might give it a shot because I can’t see anything she writes being bad, also the cover is so pretty I want that on my shelf.

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