‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab is a paranormal tale with adventure, told through the eyes of a girl blessed with the gift of communicating with spirits. This story follows Cassidy Blake, an 12 year old girl with the gift of crossing over to the world of the dead, called the Veil. She is able to travel to this world after a near death experience a year earlier. Cassidy travels to Edinburgh, Scotland with her parents, ‘paranormal experts’ in writing (yet they have little awareness of ghosts) who film a show called ‘The Inspecters’ based on their successful books on ghost phenomenon. As her parents venture into popular, ‘spooky’ tourist sites within Edinburgh, Cassidy embarks on her own adventure through the Veil with Jacob, her close friend (and ghost). It is through these excursions that Cassidy becomes enlightened about her gift, and discovers some shocking surprises along the way.
‘City of Ghosts’ is a Middle Grade novel, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I do love reading paranormal stories, and this story pushed my interest. I also appreciated the fact that this book felt like an ‘older’ book in many aspects. The scenes where Cassidy gets better attuned with venturing into the Veil pulled at my heartstrings. She holds a strong connection with the spirit world, and it was fulfilling to witness Cassidy’s journey as she discovers their strengths and weaknesses. This leads to a marked piece of advice from Lara, a girl Cassidy meets in Scotland (who holds a special gift of her own): ‘We’re meant to cross (the Veil), because we have a job to do on the other side’. It was also refreshing to see Cassidy have a genuine platonic relationship with Jacob, who serves as her loyal companion along her adventure through Scotland. Their paranormal discoveries in Edinburgh lead to the beginning of a deeper awareness in Cassidy’s gift.
I hope to see more of Cassidy’s growth in her abilities as she travels to other destinations with her family. It will be interesting to see hers (and Jacob’s) character development as the months move forward in her journey.