Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Summary: 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.
My thoughts: City of Ghosts is an adorable, spooky middle-grade story following a girl who once had a near-death experience and can now see ghosts. In fact, she happens to be best friends with a ghost named Jacob. The novel begins when Cassidy’s parents, who happen to have a paranormal show, announce that the family is headed off to Scotland to film an episode at ‘The City of Ghosts’. This begins Cassidy and her best friend/ghost friend’s journey through a city rampant with ghosts while Cassidy explores her ability to see the supernatural beings.
I had a lot of fun reading this book that readers can fly through in one sitting. It was a cute, Halloween-esque tale that had everything I loved in it, ghosts, a fiery main character, a loyal best friend, and some twists and turns along the way. What really stuck out the most to me was Cassidy and Jacob’s friendship dynamic which was pure and wonderful in their banter and the way they worked together. It made me eager to see what would happen next because I was so invested in the both of them, thanks to their differing personalities that blended well together.
While I don’t often read middle-grade, I really enjoyed the story it had to tell, the vivid descriptions of Scotland, the history that was mentioned along the way, and the spooky elements. While I did not completely connect with the storyline, perhaps because it felt a bit rushed towards the end in order to wrap up nicely, I did have fun with it, and I was left wanting more of the story because it ended with some stones left unturned. This is definitely a story that readers should pick up on a rainy, October morning, to get into the mood for Halloween, and I enjoyed what Schwab had to offer in the realm of middle-grade stories, and I do think I will be picking up the sequel because I am interested to see what happens next!
** I received an ARC of this novel from Book Expo in exchange for an honest review. **