A review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

This book is going straight to my ‘Favourites’ shelf on Goodreads! It is just that good. No lie. It is a thing of beauty.

Sixteen year old Mackenzie Bishop became a Keeper at age eleven, when her grandfather passed his key on to her. Her job is to return the Histories – ghostlike copies of those who have died – back to the Archive. The Histories are supposed to stay asleep, stored safely on shelves like books in a library, but every so often some awaken and escape into the Narrows as they attempt to make their way back to the real world. Mac must patrol the Narrows, long intersecting hallways filled with doors, and hunt down the Histories before they slip, before their fear and confusion turns to anger and violence. It’s a dangerous job, and even the best Keepers have scars. It’s also a secret which Mac must keep even from her family.

When Mac’s little brother dies she feels more separate from the real world than ever, and life becomes more complicated when her mother insists on moving the family to an old hotel turned apartment building. The Coronado is old and crumbling, and it’s history (small h) is filled with secrets.
As Mac struggles to keep up with an increasing work load – more Histories are making it into the Narrows – and the ever stronger pull to disappear into the Archives and sit beside her brother’s shelf, she meets two very different boys – Wes, a fellow Keeper, who wears eyeliner (I mean guyliner!) and fills her with rock music, and Owen, whose quiet presence gives her peace. And if that’s not enough to keep her busy, there’s also the small issue of the Archive – something is clearly going wrong, someone is breaking the rules and Mac doesn’t know who to trust.

‘The Archived’ is beautifully written and so original. The characters, especially Mac and Wes, are so real and the mystery they find themselves wrapped up in is a definite page turner. I shall recommend this lovely tale to all that cross my path.

The only teeny tiny thing that annoyed me about the whole book, is that Mac’s grandfather is called ‘Da’ and for the first couple pages, before the exact relationship was revealed, I thought ‘Da’ was Mac’s dad – I probably made this mistake because I know the author is partial to all things Scottish and in Scotland ‘da’ is slang for dad.

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