Mac is a Keeper; it is her job to patrol the Narrows and return awakened Histories to the Archive. Histories are people who have died (sort of like ghosts but corporeal); the Archive houses all the Histories (sort of like a cross between a graveyard and a library). The Librarians maintain the Archive and send assignments to the Keepers like Mac. Mac inherited her job from her grandpa, Da, who was a Keeper up until his death. She is the youngest Keeper in history and good at her job. Then her brother is tragically killed and her family moves to the Coronado for a fresh start. The Coronado is a dusty, crumbling hotel turned apartments and it seems the site of a tragic past no one wants known. Mac discovers that the history of the Coronado has been tampered with and Histories associated with the Coronado have been changed. Then there is the increase in escaped Histories, the cute, goth Keeper in her territory and the strange young man hanging out in the Narrows. Things do not add up and the more Mac digs the worse things become.
Mac is a tragic figure, full of pain and loss and misery. She lies constantly to protect her job, she misses her little brother and her Da, and she is scared to touch anyone because people are loud with thoughts and feelings that she can hear. I found this story intriguing. I liked the idea of an Archive housing the dead with Librarians able to read them. I’m not sure why this is necessary, but it was interesting. I liked Mac and Wes (the goth Keeper) and how Wes brought a lightness and a sense of fun to Mac’s world. I did think the story moved a little slowly and/or could have been edited down. I liked the mystery but I thought it was drug out too long and the explanation/conclusion was hurried at the end of the book. There is a lot of world-building in this book and Schwab does a great job setting it up. This is the start of a series so I am a little intrigued about where she is going to take it from here.