City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab (Scholastic, August 2018) is a fun middle grade ghost hunting story, not desperately original but full of spooky atmosphere with an engaging heroine.

Cassidy Blake's parents are famous ghost hunters, and they've been offered a TV show that will take them around the world searching out hauntings.  What they don't know is that ever since her nearly fatal drowning, Cassidy herself can see ghost, and in fact her best friend, Jacob, who saved her life that day, is a ghost himself.

When the Blake's arrive in Edinburgh to film the first episode of the show, Cassidy is overwhelmed.  She can cross the veil that separates the living from the dead, in in Edinburgh, there are lots and lots of ghosts, dragging her into the supernatural realm.  In her experience, ghosts are uninterested in the living, but here in Scotland she meets a formidable ghost, who is very interested in the living indeed--dragging living children into her supernatural realm.  And she also meets another girl who can cross the veil, and who does so in order to put ghosts down, which Cassidy finds disturbing, because of her loyalty to ghostly Jacob.  But the immediate threat of the murdering ghost takes precedence, and Cassidy, with help from Jacob, must find a way to put this evil ghost to rest, or loose her own life, for real.

The spooky atmosphere of Edinburgh is wonderfully done, and the ghost stories are interesting and deliciously macabre.  There's nothing particularly fresh about it, but it's a fine fast read for kids who like ghosts!

(I myself was a little creeped out by Jacob; I wouldn't want my own adolescent daughter being constantly haunted by an adolescent boy who isn't great at privacy boundaries).

minor note--the family brings their cat from the US to Scotland, and I was all "but what about rabies quarantine?" and felt distrust towards the whole book as a result, until I looked up current law and found the quarantine regulations have been relaxed.  So don't worry about that!

If this is the sort of story you like, try the Suddenly Supernatural books by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (daughter of a medium starts seeing ghosts and lays them to rest) and Michelle Schusterman's Kat Sinclair series (dad has ghost hunting tv series, daughter gets involved in spooky mysteries).  And if you like your ghost hunting really spooky, try Ellen Oh's Spirit Hunter books.

1 comment:

  1. I tend to have mixed reactions to Schwab's work, but spooky atmosphere always catch my eye...


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