Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Love of The Archived by Victoria Schwab

This book completely blew me away. The Archived takes an extremely unique and original idea and shrouds it with mystery, romance, and suspense. An automatic addition to my favorites shelf! 


Series: The Archived, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5 stars!


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 she 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 completely blew me away. The Archived takes an extremely unique and original idea and shrouds it with mystery, romance, and suspense. An automatic addition to my favorites shelf!

Mackenzie seems like a normal, serious, and quiet teenage girl, but she has an important responsibility as Keeper, and the death of her younger brother Ben weighing her down. Now she, along with the rest of her family, has moved to a new hotel-turned-apartments called the Coronado, which houses a beautiful teenage boy, the stained history of a covered up murder, and lots and lots of dust. As her parents try to start a new coffee shop, she travels to and from the Narrows, the place where Histories (essentially ghosts) go when they are disturbed. And many more disturbances have occurred as late, leading Mackenzie and her new friend Wesley (also known as Guyliner) into a mystery involving the Archives, the Coronado, and the strange History named Owen who doesn’t act quite right.

The Archived is packed full of lovely twists that are unexpected, but understandable. Although the plot begins somewhat slowly, the mystery of the Archives, the Coronado, and Mackenzie’s past keep you interested. I was literally (well, not literally literally) glued to the page for the entire time, and read the book in two days. Even chocolate couldn’t encourage me to get me up half the time!

I loved the hotel setting, especially with the various odd neighbors, beautiful garden, gargoyle-infested roof, and stories hidden everywhere. Although Mackenzie thought differently about it, I would have loved to live in an old place like that.

The characters were also fantastic. Mackenzie was a great narrator, with a very real and comfortable voice and style. Roland, one of the librarians in the Archive, reminded me of Peter, my favorite librarian (in a library of books, not of Histories), who is also extremely fun and easy to talk to.

Something I really appreciated about this book is that although it is about a library that houses the dead on shelves, and stars a girl who chases after escaped ghosts, none of it felt cheesy, zombie-like, or “spooky.” It was most definitely mysterious, but didn’t have the feel I was expecting from the description and genres (which I am really glad about!).

The few things I didn’t love about this book was that the beginning was quite confusing, with a character named Da and one called Dad. Da turned out to be her grandfather, but this isn’t explained until about halfway through the book, and only mentioned off-hand. In addition, I found the villain too easy to identify. As soon as you are introduced, it is clear there is something unique about them, and it makes them stand out a little too clearly in your mind as “different.”

I really have never read a book quite like this one, both in general “feeling” and plot mechanics. I can’t wait to read The Unbound, which I will pick up as soon as I can from the library and dive straight into!

I’d love to discuss this book with other readers! Drop a comment if that includes you!


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This entry was posted on November 3, 2014 by in Author: Gwen, Favorites, Review, Young Adult and tagged , .
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