The Archived. By Victoria Schwab. 2013. 336p. Hyperion, $16.99 (9781423157311). Gr. 8-11.
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.--Debbie Carton