It’s Not Hansel and Gretel by Josh Funk and Illustrated…
City of Ghosts
By Victoria Schwab
One of my favorite authors is Victoria Schwab. I love her Shades of Magic series and when I saw City of Ghosts written for Middle Grade students, I almost had a heart attack. I do believe I yelped a little and immediately bought a copy for my classroom.
Why do I love Schwab?
Schwab is one of my favorite authors because of the worlds she creates. Fantasy is a difficult genre, especially for middle grade readers. Having too many difficult things to pronounce or complex worlds can give readers a sense of confusion and if they are not a more “developed” reader, they might give up out of frustration. Schwab’s Young Adult books are very complex, yet are written in an understanding way. City of Ghosts was also done very well. It is about a complex issue of ghosts, “veils,” and death, but I believe my students would be able to follow along fairly easily.
I also love Schwab’s books because of how dark they are, yet there is always light found in them as well. The characters are hurting or struggling and the world they live in is a scary one. I love that she can write such dark, spooky books, yet leave the reader with hope instead of feeling utterly terrified.
Let’s get into the City of Ghosts.
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.
3 Things I Loved
- I loved Cass and her curiosity.
- I loved the Harry Potter references! I smiled every time.
- I loved the idea of the “in between” and how it is connected to both those who have died and who have almost died. (This reminds me of the Darker Shades of Magic series with the multiple Londons.)
“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”
“Every time I get nervous or scared, I remind myself that every good story needs twists and turns. Every heroine needs an adventure.”
I would recommend this book to fans of spooky ghost stories. This is a suspenseful book with a fantasy world woven in beautifully.