City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

You would think having a ghost follow you wherever you go would be scary-especially if you’re only 12 years old.  Luckily for Cass, her ghost is just a nice guy named Jacob who isn’t just her best friend, but is the one who saved her life when she fell into a freezing river and died.  Well, died for a few moments. It’s that brush with death that allows Cass to see the ghosts around her and cross over into the Veil-the world of ghosts who are stuck in-between.

Cass’s parents are the co-authors of a book series The Inspecters, a collection of ghost stories that are both history and myth, with her father’s history research and her mother’s talented storytelling.  Having parents who make a living on ghost stories would seem perfect for Cass and her newfound abilities, but Cass keeps her secret from everyone around her.  Everyone except Jacob. When her parents are offered a television deal based on their books, the family heads to Edinburgh for filming. Edinburgh is the most haunted place on earth and where Cass discovers that she hasn’t begun to scratch the surface of her abilities or of the Veil.

Once in Edinburgh, Cass’s parents meet with the production crew and quickly begin their filming.  While Cass is not a part of the show, she does tag along to see the sights and watch production. It’s during filming that Cass discovers a new ghost, one that wears a bright red cloak and sings a terrifyingly alluring song.  Before Cass can get in over her head, she meets another occupant of their apartment building, a young girl about her age named Lara who has the same gift as Cass, but uses it in a much different way. Lara is able to help ghosts move on and even calls herself a ghost hunter.  When she learns that Cass and Jacob are friends, she’s horrified. Why isn’t Cass doing her job? Why is Jacob hanging around?

But it’s only with Jacob’s help that Cass will be able to survive ghosts that are stronger than anything she’s encountered.  

This is a middle grade novel so it’s target audience is about 8-12 years old.  I am very far away from 8 years old and absolutely loved it. It’s an amazing ghost story with the right balance of creepy and history.  Edinburgh was the perfect setting with it’s castles and haunted secret tunnels. I really like how the author pointed out several of the language differences as Cass and her family moved in to their temporary flat.  Lifts, chips, and the most funny, pants. Kids will love the quick discussion about trousers and pants. I did.

Cass is also a photographer and her camera plays an important part in the story.  Cass isn’t the type of annoying-young-girl-who-giggles type of character. She’s real, honest, and focused.  She cares about the ghosts and feels like it’s her responsibility to learn their story. There also isn’t any romantic feelings between Jacob and Cass.  They’re friends. End of story.

Her parents were also really well written.  They’re shown trying to balance their careers and time with Cass in a completely relatable way-Scotland provides more than a job, but also an adventure for Cass.  

I couldn’t find anywhere if this will continue on in a series.  There’s a satisfying ending to this story, but I hope we can find out more about Jacob and the Veil.  The parents were going to film in multiple locations so maybe there will be more books? I have my fingers crossed.  

Definitely check this one out, even if you’re a grown up.  

City of GHosts by Victoria Schwab is available now from wherever you buy books.  You can get your copy, and help support the site, here: