A fantastic mystery about an alternate Manhattan, eccentric architects, and a cipher that could save the whole city. Unusual twins Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz are facing eviction from their historical building by an evil real estate developer determined to tear down every building built by the famous and mysterious Morningstarr architects (Tess and Theo’s namesakes). The twins and Jaime team up to solve the Morningstarr’s city wide scavenger hunt to find their lost treasure and save their building. Along the way, they learn as much about history as they do about themselves.— From Sami's 2017 Picks
“The pleasures of the novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place. The book is shot through with humor, both laugh-out-loud and subtle.” —New York Times Book Review
From National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner Laura Ruby comes an epic alternate history series about three kids who try to solve the greatest mystery of the modern world: a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City.
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before.
Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.
Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York.
And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.
"An epic mission to solve one of the greatest mysteries of their time. I loved this book. It is full of twists and turns" (from the Brightly.com review, which named York: The Shadow Cipher one of the best books of 2017).
About the Author
Laura Ruby is the author of books for adults, teens, and children, including Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All and the Michael L. Printz Medal winner Bone Gap, both National Book Award finalists; the Edgar Award nominee Lily’s Ghosts; and the Book Sense Pick Good Girls as well as the first two books in the York Saga. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program and lives in the Chicago area. You can visit her online at www.lauraruby.com.
★ “In this smart, immersive series starter, Ruby expertly juggles stunning plot choreography, realistic stakes in a captivating fantasy setting, well-wrought characters, and flashes of sharp cultural commentary.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“The pleasures of this novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place. The book is shot through with humor, both laugh-out-loud and subtle.”
— New York Times Book Review
★ “This first volume opens up an ever expanding sense of magic, culminating in a bittersweet ending that promises bigger things to come. The past informs the present as the review informs readers: don’t let this one go.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ “Ruby’s latest is a high-stakes mystery novel filled with intriguing puzzles, solid world-building, and diverse characters. An engaging series opener that will leave readers eagerly awaiting future installments.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“The first book in an exciting new series that’s great for fans of steampunk, history, mystery, and magic. Let the puzzles begin!”