City of Ghosts is the first middle grade novel by Victoria Schwab (also know as VE) and it’s also the first book I’ve read by Schwab and I was not disappointed. I’m not a HUGE fantasy or horror fan, but City of Ghosts is the perfect blend of middle grade adventure, light ghost story, and travel tale.
Cassidy’s parents write about ghosts, the real and the unreal and the history of them and the places they haunt, but what they don’t know is that ever since their only child fell into the river, she’s been able to actually see and communicate with ghosts. That’s how she met her best friend, Jacob, who saved her from the river and now accompanies her on her adventures in the real world and beyond the veil. When Cassidy’s parents land a TV show about ghosts, she, her parents, her best friend/ghost friend Jacob, and their cat Grim, are shipped off the Scotland where ghosts abound. That’s where Cassidy meets a girl who, like her, can go behind the veil, and Cassidy learns about what her gift, or her curse, is supposed to mean. And when Cassidy meets a ghost who is out to steal human life….things get complicated.
This book is short, it’s full of ghosts and adventures and fun pop culture references to Harry Potter and it feels very rooted in contemporary times but also full of the haunting history of Scotland, castles, and graveyards. Cassidy is a likeable character who makes mistakes and admits them. Her parent’s are great and funny but not overbearing or too present in the story, and her best friend Jacob provides a nice foil to the real world without weighing the story down with a narrative strain about a boy who died. I listened to the audiobook, which had great narration, and it was pretty short, just around 5 hours. A great listen all around!
I don’t know if I will pick up Schwab’s more famous series just because I know my own interests, but this has definitely tuned me into why people enjoy her as an author and I may check her out in the future.