by Victoria Schwab
"Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption."
This book started out very slowly for me. The plot has a very unique approach to the afterlife, and it's one I'm very glad I don't buy into because it is kind of disturbing. I never really understood everything about the Archive and the Narrows... The writing was very good, but I had a difficult time connecting with the characters, probably because the main characters have to lie constantly to everyone in their lives. That doesn't really endear them to you, even though it is necessary for their work. But it redeemed itself in the end by some great twists and quite a bit of excitement.
Areas of concern: 6 or 7 instances of mild cussing. Some kissing. Deaths of family members. Several unsolved murders from the past. Violence involving being stabbed with glass and several fights.
Kirkus reviews: Ages 12+