By Victoria Schwab
(Disney-Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781423157311, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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 that 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 hardwon redemption. Advance praise for THE ARCHIVED: "This gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe." Kirkus Reviews
Victoria Schwab (www.victoriaschwab.com) is the author of The Near Witch-which Kirkus praised for its "shivery horror tang"-as well as several upcoming novels. Victoria suffers from a wicked case of wanderlust, but when she's not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she can usually be found tucked in the corner of a coffee shop in Nashville, sipping tea and dreaming up monsters.
3Q 4P J The Archived takes a look at what happens to the spirits of those who have died and where they reside once they have left the living world. The Archives contain the stories and memories of those people, as well as their bodies, and are managed by Librarians, Keepers, and Crew, who each have their own job within the Archives. Sixteen-year-old Mackenzie Bishop, who is a Keeper, was introduced to the world of the Archives by her now-deceased grandfather, Da, at the age of twelve. Mackenzie's family is struggling with the death of both her younger brother, Ben, killed by a hit-and-run driver, and her grandfather. After moving into an older apartment building with her parents, Mackenzie hunts down those spirits who have "slipped," or awoken, becoming confused and sometimes violent. Armed with a key that opens doors to get the Histories back into their rightful resting places, she is provided names of spirits that must be caught in order to keep the Archives at peace. After meeting a fellow Keeper, Wesley, within the apartment building, they encounter Histories that have direct ties with the apartment that she and her family live in, and whose stories are being altered by someone, threatening to destroy the entire Archives. Mackenzie sets out to right what is disrupted, only to discover twists and turns of "what seems to be" along the way.-Beth H. Green—VOYA
Gr 9 Up Mackenzie was just 11 when her Da passed along the heavy responsibility of being a "Keeper": one in charge of returning Histories to the Archive. A History is a sort of ghost, but more like a copy of a dead person's life. Librarians keep every History on a shelf, in a complex and rigid order. But every once in a while one slips (becomes restless and crazed) and escapes the orderly Archive into the chaos of the Narrows a lightless series of corridors filled with doors. A Keeper's role is to return the Histories to the Archive lest they escape into the real world. When her family moves to an old hotel turned apartment building called the Coronado after the tragic death of her beloved little brother, Mac's workload of wandering Histories begins increasing exponentially. Plus, she meets a strange-looking Goth guy named Wes who shocks her by confessing that he, too, is a Keeper, and she begins to bond with him. Soon the ordered quiet of the Archive is booming with the noise of escaped Histories, and there appears to be a saboteur. Mac uncovers a dark secret held in the walls of the Coronado. Something terrible happened there and great lengths have been taken to cover it up. Stranger still is Owen, whom Mac encounters in the Narrows, a History who is not on her list and somehow has not yet slipped. Schwab skillfully manages that rare accomplishment: a spine-tingling, supernatural, ghostly mystery that is fully believable. A writer to watch for sure sequel please! Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ—SLJ
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. deirdre f. baker—Horn Book
In this atmospheric thriller, the afterlife is like a library, where the Histories of the dead are stored as bodies in drawers and maintained by a network of Librarians. Sixteen-year-old Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with tracking Histories who have awoken, returning them before they escape into the outer world. Her new territory is the Coronado, an old hotel turned apartment building, full of secrets and shadows. When something disrupts the Archive and the dead wake in ever-growing numbers, Mac teams up with the roguish Wesley to fix things, but she may not be up for the job, haunted by the death of her brother and distracted by the charms of the mysterious Owen. From the unusual premise to the dark, evocative narration, Schwab's (The Near Witch) novel skillfully blends fantasy and mystery, bringing the Coronado to life and making the setting as vital as the characters. While the setup is a little convoluted, there's a musty, yearning charm to this story. Ages 12 up.—PW
Sixteen-year-old Mackenzie Bishop is a Keeper; she works with the Archive, where Histories (the bodies of the dead) are filed away in a huge library. Periodically, a History will wake and try to get back to the Outer (our world) through the Narrows, a maze of hallways with doors that lead into both the Outer and the Archives' Returns. Keepers are charged with preventing them from reaching our world and sending them back to their sleep. The Archives are ruled by Librarians, who maintain order by sending Keepers to dispatch escaped Histories. Mac is torn between Wesley, a fellow Keeper, and Owen, a mysterious History who seems to understand her better than anyone. The nonlinear exposition includes the unexpected death of Mac's little brother, Ben, and her beloved grandfather championing her training as a Keeper. Schwab gently but determinedly examines the impact of grief on a family, as Mac and her parents struggle to accept the death of a child. It's an intriguing view of the afterlife, and the thoughtful exploration of death and our reactions to it will draw readers and promote discussion. - Debbie Carton—Booklist
A refreshingly angel-free departure in afterlife fiction, this gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe. After her brother's death, Mackenzie's parents seek a fresh start, moving into an apartment in the Coronado, a former hotel, to start a new coffee shop. Mac's good at keeping secrets: her grief, the psychic gifts she inherited from Da, her training and four years as a Keeper most of all. Keepers are tasked with keeping Histories-the recorded lives of human beings-from leaving the mysterious Archive, where they're filed and stored after death. Tended by Librarians, most Histories sleep, but a few awaken and panic, a process called "slipping," and escape into the Narrows, the passage separating the Archive and the living world. Returning violent Histories to the Archive, always dangerous, has gotten harder. The Librarians' vague explanation-"technical difficulties"-doesn't satisfy Mac. The mysteries extend beyond the Archive; records of former Coronado residents are missing in both worlds. Seeking answers, Mac forms an unsettling alliance with the guyliner-wearing boy who haunts the Coronado, but the handsome boy who saves her from a murderous History in the Narrows haunts her dreams. Suspense builds to the riveting climax, though discerning readers will spot loose threads when the dust clears. Never mind-that's what sequels are for. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)—Kirkus