From School Library Journal
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, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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. Grades 8-11, --Debbie Carton