Thursday, September 27, 2018

Middle-Grade Review: City of Ghosts

When picking books for my annual RIP Challenge this fall, I thought I'd include a few middle-grade and YA books from my bulging TBR shelves. I found an ARC of City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab and added it to my pile because a) it's about ghosts which is perfect for RIP, and b) everyone has been raving about this novel, which was released in August. Now I understand why! I loved this spooky, funny ghost story set in Scotland.

Cassidy almost drowned (technically, she did drown) and now she can see ghosts. She can even pull back the Veil, her word for the fabric-like barrier between our world and the spirit world, and visit that other place. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, is actually a ghost and the one who saved her from the icy river. Coincidentally, Cass' parents write books about ghosts and haunted places. They write from historical (her dad) and legend/myth (her mom) perspectives, but they would flip out if they knew their daughter actually sees ghosts all around her. When her parents get a new job hosting a TV show about the world's most haunted places, their first location is Edinburgh, Scotland, so the family heads off to the City of Ghosts, as it's known, to investigate its history, myths, and spirits. But when you can actually see and interact with ghosts, visiting the city's most haunted places is whole lot scarier and less fun than her parents fact, it gets downright dangerous for Cass. Thankfully, she meets another girl like her who reluctantly teaches her some things she didn't know about the Veil.

Did I mention I loved this book? I flew through its pages in just a few days and enjoyed every minute of it. Cass' ghostly experiences are intriguing and just scary enough to be fun (not too scary for most older middle-grade readers) and are based on the real-life history and legends of Edinburgh. Jacob's somewhat sarcastic banter (which only Cass can hear) adds a nice note of humor to the narrative that keeps the story from getting too dark. I was engrossed in the friends' adventures in spooky Scotland from beginning to the end which came much too quickly. I was thrilled to see this is the first book of a new series (according to Goodreads - I hope it's true!) and can't wait to follow Cass to other exciting and haunting locations. Maybe New Orleans next?

304 pages, Scholastic Press

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

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I really enjoyed reading City of Ghosts, but the audio book sounds great, too! Listen to a sample of it here.

You can purchase City of Ghosts from an indie bookstore (local or online):
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Or you can order City of Ghosts from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. What a fun book and it sounds perfect for the RIP challenge!

    1. It was a LOT of fun, Helen, and I can't wait to read more! I'd also like to read some of her earlier Mg & YA novels.

  2. I have really enjoyed all of Victoria Schwab's work! Great review :)

    1. I really enjoyed this one - will have to read some of her backlist now!