Archimancy by J.A. WhiteArchimancy by J.A. White
Series: Shadow School #1
on August 27, 2019
Genres: YA, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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The first book in a middle grade series that introduces three friends and their quest to unravel the secrets of Shadow School, a strange middle school in New Hampshire, from the acclaimed author of Nightbooks and the Thickety series, J. A. White. Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, Neil Gaiman, and Adam Gidwitz.

Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Black gates and ivied walls. Long hallways lined with old paintings. A tower with a window that looks like an eye. Different she expected; different she could handle. Still, Cordelia can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right—and that she’s being carefully watched.

The answer isn’t just in front of her eyes—it’s in her gym, next to the bulletin board, even in the cafeteria. The school grounds are filled with ghosts. Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see them; her new friend Benji can too. Together with supersmart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free. But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.

This is the first book in the Shadow School series, and since we read book 3 first, my daughter and I instantly went back to the library and grabbed books 1 and 2.

Here we meet Cordelia Liu and see how her move from California to New Hampshire shaped her new friendships and life. Cordelia’s family had to move for work. She’s an angry sixth grader who didn’t want to leave San Francisco, but soon realizes Shadow School is something special.

Cordelia seems to see some out of place people, but she doesn’t think of them as ghosts. She just figures that her new school is a little odd. It is a Victorian mansion after all. It was not built as a school. It was built as a home for a Mr. Elijah Shadow. The town needed a new school, and as long as no one ever changed anything about the structure, it was allowed for the Shadow mansion to become Shadow School. So if Cordelia sees a random person rushing out of the room, or hiding under the bleachers, well, she figures, it’s an odd school and she’s brand new. Maybe this is normal?

She notices something else. As soon as a ghost hiding under the bleachers starts crying, a boy named Benji pops in his earbuds. Cordelia notices a pattern with Benji, and realizes he can see the ghosts too.

One thing Cordelia wants to try is instead of ignoring and avoiding the ghosts, she wants to help them move on. She discovers how to help them, and each time, with each different ghost, their key to their own personal Bright is different. While she is excited to help the ghosts move on, someone at the school isn’t so thrilled.

Cordelia also made another friend, Agnes, who cannot see ghosts. But they found some glasses they’ve nicknamed Spectercles, so she can see the ghosts inside Shadow School as well. Benji, Agnes, and Cordelia will try their best to move on the ghosts and figure out more of the secrets that Shadow School holds.

This book was a fantastic start to the series. I loved the way the kids interacted, and how they became friends. I like the plot and the concept of the book. My daughter just enjoyed the story. She loves mysteries and books about ghosts that aren’t scary. This feels more like a mystery rather than a scary ghost story. It’s listed as Middle Grade, however I think any kiddo from 8 to 18 (and adults lol) would enjoy this one.

***We got this book from the library