Middle Grade Monday: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

middle grade monday


Hey everyone!  I’m doing the Middle-Grade Monday meme, currently run by Carolina over at Fictionologst. Go check her out if you want to participate in this meme as well.
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 285
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: August 28th, 2018



Trigger warning: A lot of focus around death, in particular the death of children. 



Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, 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 Inspectres 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. – Synopsis from Goodreads.


                    “Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

Schwab has finally entered the world of middle-grade and I couldn’t be more pleased about it.

I’m a huge middle-grade fan and I’m always going on about how many people are missing out on fantastic stories that have been coming out lately, just because they get caught up in the age recommendation. City of Ghostsis one of the those stories that just might convince you that maybe middle-grade isn’t for little babies. Hopefully Schwab can help you see the light!

I’ll admit went into this book with very high expectations. City of Ghostswas one of my top most anticipated reads this year. Also Schwab wrote it, I think it’s ok to have high expectations when going into a book written by this queen! She just has such a way with words, I’m think she might really be an alien – no human could write that beautifully! The more work I am lucky enough to discover, the more I fall in love with her writing. This is no exception to the rule.

The book focuses on our main protagonist, Cassidy, who had an accident awhile back – one of an almost fatal nature. Cassidy was luckily saved and pulled from her almost fate, but she came back different and with a new friend. Like in the Sixth Sense, she can now see dead people. That makes things a little difficult on her social life but she does have a best friend, who happens to be dead, named Jacob. These characters are a lot of fun. I really loved that Cassidy is brave, curious, loyal, and at times very flawed. This girl makes a lot of mistakes but it just makes her all the more endearing. Jacob, on the other hand, is more cautious and protective but has a sassy sense of humor. I fell in love with both of them instantly. They also make many Potter references so how could you not eat these two right up?!?!? Potter references are pretty much the surest way to get me on your side.

OH MY GOD, can it be real? Do we really have a middle-grade book where the author didn’t ship the parents off to some unknown place, didn’t kill them off and didn’t make them out to be complete monsters?! Hallelujah! I was starting to lose faith that this was even possible anymore in middle-grade. Cassidy’s parents are present, loving and completely kooky, the best way possible. Her mother is an eccentric whose enthusiasm for everything is addictive and her father is very focused on science and how to explain why everything is happening. They bounce off of each other very well. Oh, did I mention they also happen to be ghost hunters? They are filming a show where they go to the most historical haunted places on the map and explore. Obviously, this is going to create some issues for someone who can see dead people everywhere.

We also have a malevolent ghost woman who has the freaky knack of stealing children and no one ever hears from them again. I loved her backstory and she was the perfect balance to this story to give you a little jolt of creepy. I won’t say too much about her because it’s best you let her story unravel as you read along.

I’ve been asked several times if this book is scary. That is honestly really hard to answer since I have no idea what everyone’s definition of that is. I would say that it’s unsettling at times and creepy. If you have children that are easily scared then this one might be too much but it’s pretty tame compared to a lot of the spooky middle-grade books out there.

I highly recommend this one and I hope some other authors such as Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo jump on the middle-grade wagon and grace us with a story as well.