cover image York: The Shadow Cipher

York: The Shadow Cipher

Laura Ruby. Walden Pond, $17.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-230693-7

In this entertaining race through an alternate-history New York City, first in the York trilogy, several children attempt to unravel their city’s greatest unsolved puzzle in order to save their historic apartment building from an unscrupulous real-estate tycoon. Twins Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz are determined to solve the clues left behind by the Morningstarrs, legendary architects and inventors who dazzled New York with fantastic technology and skyscrapers before vanishing. As the intrepid trio follows a chain of previously undiscovered hints, they’re drawn deeper into the truth behind the so-called Old York Cipher. Printz Award–winner Ruby (Bone Gap) conjures a compelling vision of a city rife with enigmas and secrets through third-person narration that highlights the key roles played by the friends and a young neighbor named Cricket. The details of Ruby’s alternate New York fascinate—this is a world that features familiar pop culture references (Legos, Nancy Drew, Marvel superheroes), which are subtly tweaked and accompanied by intriguing tech, such as the robotic caterpillars that keep the Underway (aka subway) clean. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for book two. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (May)