The Archived (The Archived, #1)
by Victoria Schwab
I’m ashamed to say I read this book and forgot to write a review when it was fresh in my mind. But, as I think back, all the elements of the story are still clear as a bell, even though I have probably read 50 books since this one.
The story contains a wonderful plot that combines the love of a child for her grandfather, the sorrow of losing that grandfather and then her younger brother, dealing with her mother’s inability to accept her brother’s loss and trying to handle her duties as a Keeper that were passed to her when her grandfather died.
Her grandfather was a Keeper, one of those charged with keeping the souls in the Archives, shelved similarly to books in a library, where they belong, retrieving new souls unable to get to the Archives the “normal” way and tracking down and returning souls who manage to get out of the Archives for any number of reasons, most of them not good. She is too young to be a Keeper but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the power from descending to her from her grandfather when he passed away. Even though he had been training her for several years, there is still a lot she does not know and she needs to learn fast!
After moving with her parents to an old residential hotel where her mother intends to open a coffee shop (can you say “geographical cure”?), she is even busier trying to keep up with her duties as her ability to “read” events of deaths that occurred in a certain place blossoms. She meets a boy about her own age also living in this antique building, who is very different from most of the friends she just left behind, who seems to be showing up at the most interesting times.
The author’s description of the Keeper’s duties trying to corral souls who do not understand what has happened to them or who refuse to accept the fact that they have died are truly amazing and somewhat terrifying. This is a book I would recommend to teenage readers or adults with a liking for dark and mysterious doings. I look forward to the next books in this series.
I frequently read YA because I have a young niece (also a reader) and I like to be able to recommend books she would like, that are appropriate to her age and maturity level.
I found Lightmasters 13 to be a really fun romp from the perspective of a young girl who finds herself thrust into a situation far from her previous experience. Her grandparents, who take over her custody when her parents die, are great characters but Jessica is not familiar with them and their eccentricities or their small, insular town far different from her prior home. So Jessica has to learn to deal with her grandparents, a new school with schoolmates who, naturally, scorn this new, smart, unusual student, and the grief of her parents’ loss, all at the same time.
Jessica also discovers on her 13th birthday that she has been “blessed” with hereditary powers she was previously unaware of – that throw her for a huge loop.
This story of her receipt and acceptance of these powers, adaptation to their odd side effects, and the danger in which they place her is very fast-paced and highlights the slightly tongue-in-cheek angst and hyperactivity of a very young teenager whose journey to come to terms with just growing up is made even more difficult than normal by the additional complications of coming to terms with her powers.
I look forward to following Jessica’s journey as she explores her powers and the high-stress world of the much-anticipated high school “experience.”
THE HERMITAGE HOUSE MIRACLE, by Malcolm Ater
A very short, sweet story of a boy who remembers nothing from before his first day at school, for a very good reason, which I will not ruin for you. He does not have a storybook life after that and ends up at The Hermitage House, a genteel but crumbling children’s home that once housed many children. The home has lost financial backing and is deteriorating, but the original director, Sister Catherine, is still able to take in a very few children, but not for long, thanks to state codes and regulations.
There is a somewhat mysterious aspect to this story, but it does not render the story “supernatural.” So do yourself a favor and take a short time to read this story.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in return for a review. Per agreement I will post this review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, LibraryThing, NetGalley.com and my blog at https://museofhellreviews.wordpress.com