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)