Synopsis from Goodreads: Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, 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 Inspecters 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.
I have had Victoria Schwab/VE Schwab’s writing on my radar since finishing Addie LaRue earlier this year and absolutely loving it, so when Goodreads offered up City of Ghosts as a possible middle-grade read for my Fall into Reading Challenge, I grabbed it. This is exactly the kind of book (and series) I would have read and re-read and re-re-read when I was in middle school. A great protagonist with a dry sense of humor, great supporting characters, questionable things in an alternative reality and a Grimm’s fairytale feeling.
Typical of Schwab’s other writing and reviews/discussions I’ve read of her works I haven’t read (yet) for myself, her characters are completely human, even Jacob who is, in fact, a ghost, with foibles and issues who sometimes make bad choices but also who sometimes make good ones and can surprise themselves with how smart or how strong they really are. I loved the spooky “Old Edinburgh” vibe created as Schwab pilots Cass and Jacob through the city of the living and that of the dead. Cassidy is everything I’d want to be as a young teen – smart, saavy to know just enough, but still young enough to sometimes not know better and to make mistakes, and to learn from them. Extra bonus points for the haunting ghost stories and past lives that crop up throughout the book. I also appreciated that Schwab can make a book ostensibly a “children’s book” so enjoyable a read for adults. While there are certainly some scary/creepy parts and the book touches on death quite a bit – it is a ghost story, after all – I think it’s a suitable read for anyone over 10.
I’ll definitely be revisiting Cassidy’s world and thrilled this is part of a series with these characters. I’m anxious to find out more about Jacob too!
This is book 9/24 of the Fall Into Reading Challenge.