"The dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead, called 'Histories', rest in the Archive." Already, the beginning of that jacket synopsis has my attention for obvious reasons. I read on to discover that "Keepers," like our teenage protagonist Mackenzie, are tasked with stopping these "Histories" from waking up and becoming violent. Plot twist: now someone is altering the Histories and erasing chapters. Who's doing that and why? What's the big secret? Is the Archive in danger?

This book is wicked. If the wonderful writing itself doesn't appeal to you from the get-go, the refreshing premise will. This story is imaginative and creepy, mulling over the small spaces of reality between life and death, sleeping and waking. The contemplative tone of these scenes really adds to the atmosphere overall. The intricate world building is probably the novel's strongest trait. While the pacing is uneven in the early chapters, the story finds its stride in the last half of this book and is well worth your patience. The pieces of the plot will align themselves and you will have your "ahhh" moment. There are elements not fully explored and details not shared with the reader that arguably could have been, but I think the author planned this, choosing to save some goodies and set-up book two in the series, "The Unbound".

You get mystery, you get horror, you get a splash of romance and some action. "The Archived" by Victoria Schwab is a certified "Oh Yeah" Young Adult recommendation for lovers of the weird and the strange.

 

 

Recommended by Matthew Lowder

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