Published by Scholastic on August 28, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade
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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?