by Victoria Schwab
Middle School, High School Hyperion 324 pp.
1/13 978-1-4231-5731-1 $16.99 g
Mackenzie is a “Keeper”; her job is to return the wakeful dead (or “Histories”) to the Archive, a repository of all human memory. Persuading the dead to return to their rightful resting place often involves kick-ass combat, but never so much as when Mac’s family moves to an apartment in an old hotel. Suddenly, the Archive experiences a rush of escaped Histories, and it’s no longer the silent domain it should be — nor is Mac, grieving the loss of her younger brother, as dispassionate as she once was about the dead. This is no common policing-the-supernatural romantic thriller: Schwab’s image of the Archive and its Librarians is both poignant and intellectually piquant, a suggestion that the repository of human memory goes beyond personal loss and is central to human culture. She writes of death, sorrow, and family love with a light, intelligent touch and inventive vigor, and provides romance with a pleasing edge of unpredictability. It isn’t often that lines from Dante’s Inferno make their way into supernatural thrillers for teens, but they do here — and to good effect.
From the January/February 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.