“Stories about winding halls, and invisible doors, and places where the dead are kept like books on shelves. Each time you finish a story, you make me tell it back to you, as if you’re afraid I will forget.
“I never do.”
Mackenzie Bishop became a Keeper for the Archive when she was twelve years old. Trained and groomed by her grandfather, Mackenzie knew exactly what being a Keeper would mean. It means danger as she hunts for escaped Histories–records of the dead bound in something very close to flesh and bone–that need to be returned to the Archive. She knows being a Keeper means lying to everyone she knows.
It isn’t easy work. But it gives Mac a solid link to Da and his years of training and stories. It gives Mac the illusion of being close to her younger brother who died a year ago.
Still grieving and lost, Mac’s family moves to a decrepit building trying to start again. As she tiptoes around her mother’s crazy new schemes and her father’s avoidance, Mac soon discovers that a building as old as the Coronado is filled with secrets and lies of its own. Learning more about the building Mac discovers disturbing alterations to Histories within the Archive. Someone wants to hide something about the Coronado. And perhaps about the Archive too. If Mac can’t solve the mystery that remains the entire Archive could collapse in The Archived (2013) by Victoria Schwab.
The Archived is Schwab’s second novel. It is also the first in a series although it stands very nicely on its own. The sequel, The Unbound, is due out in 2014.
The Archived sounds like it should be a grim book. There are dead people. There are sad characters. It should be depressing. Instead, The Archived is an eerie, original read that is simultaneously exciting and contemplative. Mac is a strong, resilient heroine who is flawed and as utterly authentic as the world she inhabits. And what a world. Filled with librarians and keys and secrets The Archived is a unique book filled with all of my favorite things right down to a beautiful cover and book design.
Lyrical memories of Mac’s past are interspersed between action-packed chapters with Mac’s work as a Keeper for the Archive. Schwab skillfully combines a compelling premise with themes of loss and family to create a nuanced mystery sure to dazzle readers.
Possible Pairings: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin