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.