Guest ARC Review: City of Ghosts

***Disclaimer: All opinions are my own.***

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City of Ghosts Review

By: Lexi

There’s an age old debate to if ghosts are real. Since there are theories upon theories about the spiritual afterlife, one of my favorite things is reading stories that features ghosts. You can create a world within our world and no one can tell you you’re wrong. Even if you’re a skeptic, there’s something fascinating about a world that exists after or even within our own.

My newest favorite story is City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.

I was given an advance copy to ready by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

First I have to be honest and address the fact that last December I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Edinburgh Scotland. I truly believe I left half my heart and possibly my soul there. It’s a beautiful city and coming from Scottish and Irish descent I instantly felt at home. WIth that being said I was more than excited to get my hands on an early copy of this book.

Setting truly creates a story. I’ve never felt that to be more true than when I read this book.

We start by meeting Cassidy our eleven year old heroine, who lives in upstate New York. You could say she’s your typical eleven year old. She loves her vintage camera, she goes to school and tries to survive. Her parents are paranormal investigators. Her parents write books about the paranormal world for a living. Her mother writes the stories and her father checks the facts and the history.

She has a best friend, but this is where it diverges. Her best friend, is dead. He’s a ghost she met on the night that changed everything.

If we were in a comic book this would be our origin story. Some people get a spider bite, or a vat of acid. We got a river.”

The night she somehow crossed the veil and got stuck in between.

School is out for summer and Cassidy’s parents spring a surprise on her. Instead of lounging by the beach all summer, free of ghosts that constantly follow her, they’re going to shoot the pilot of their new reality show in….. Scotland!

“According to the weather app on my phone, Scotland’s definition of summer is cold and rainy with a chance of hail.”

Cassidy isn’t too happy. Mostly because it isn’t the beach. But also because Edinburgh is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. And she knows the pull she often feels, the ghosts who call to her and ask her to witness their stories, will be the worst it’s ever been in a city built on the dead.

She has no choice, so she packs her bags and after negotiating with Jacob for an allowance of five comic books to bring along, they set out on an adventure they never knew they’d find.

“By the time we step back out into the street, I am beaming. Edinburgh is officially my favorite place.”

A ghost story set in a place that’s crawling with ghosts is stunning. The history that can be found within her story is spectacular. The ghosts are made up, but the places Cassidy visits with her family are real. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, the adventure is truly one I never saw coming. Cassidy gets into trouble and like most tweens, she has her best friend to help her find her way out. But the trouble is bigger when urban legends prove to be true, and ghosts are real.

And you’re one of the only ones who can see them.

Victoria Schwab, who’s library spans from middle grade to young adult to adult science fiction, mesmerized me with this story. I haven’t read a book for this age since I was this age and I loved every moment. Cassidy is smart and solid. She has her flaws and she knows them. She reminded me a lot of my ten year old sister, and I’d like to believe myself when i was that age.

If you’ve never been to Edinburgh, you’ll feel like you have been after reading Victoria’s detailed and beautiful descriptions. She walks you down the cobblestone streets as if you have been there your entire life. You feel the enclosed space of Mary’s Kings Clothes and the true magic that is the Royal Mile. She paints the picture so vivid I was homesick for a place I’ve only been to once before.

I won’t spoil the story for you, because it’s an adventurous one. It’s got action, adventure, a heroine who knows what she wants but is also willing to learn. A best friend who has his own secrets and parents who truly love their daughter. Don’t let the genre “middle grade fiction” hinder you from picking up this book. Once you read that first sentence, you’ll be hooked.

It’s got everything you could want. A girl. A ghost best friend. A beautiful setting and a story that never gets boring. I for one, cannot wait for more.

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