Mackenzie Bishop is no stranger to death. In the span of a few years, she’s lost both her beloved grandfather and her younger brother. Now, her family is trying to start over by moving to the Coronado, an old hotel in the city. Not only has Mackenzie been torn from her best friend and her childhood home, but she’s been assigned to the Coronado as her new territory. Mackenzie is a Keeper. In an afterlife where the dead are shelved like books in a library, it is her job to patrol the Narrows, a slip of space between the normal world and the Archive. When the dead, also known as Histories, accidentally awaken, Mackenzie must send them back to the Archive. It’s a dangerous job, as the Histories can become violent, but Mackenzie must prove herself to the Librarians. After all, she’s her grandfather’s legacy.
The Coronado seems to be a hotbed of activity, and Mackenzie thinks it might have something to do with a 60-year-old murder. The Histories are waking up at alarming rates, and she struggles to contain them, even with the help of another handsome Keeper with a penchant for eyeliner and literature. But when a mysterious History wanders into the Narrows, Mackenzie can’t send him back, and a forbidden attraction blooms. If Mackenzie can’t figure out what’s waking the dead, it might be the Archive’s undoing. Some things are best left dead.
Victoria Schwab’s latest novel is a clever reimagining of the afterlife, and Mackenzie is a tough protagonist bearing heavy burdens. As a Keeper, she must lie to her family and friends, essentially isolating her from everyone. It’s a lot to ask of a teenage girl. The Archived is as much about loss as it is about finding oneself.