“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 the Michael L. Printz Medal winner and National Book Award finalist Bone Gap, the Edgar Award nominee Lily’s Ghosts, the Book Sense Pick Good Girls, and York: The Shadow Cipher, the first book in the York trilogy. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A review by 10yo Novalee: This book, York: The Shadow Cipher (the first book in a series!!!), was a very detailed, high leveled and AMAZING thing to read! This book had its main focus on this old puzzle called the Cipher, which was designed by the Morningstarrs, this genius twin pair, brother and sister. They invented many things, and designed the Morningstarr Tower, which has many elevators that move in all directions. The Morningstarrs, along with their employees had secrets and basically lived under the radar. In this book, three kids try to solve the Cipher. The kids were Tess and Theo, brother and sister. Both really smart. Jaime. The artist. Smart. Finally, Nine, the cat that needs a leash. Slightly crazy. Together, these people, (plus cat) are kind of brought closer to each other because a powerful man named Darrell Slant bought their apartment building. My opinion? I think that this book was really great. If you like solving puzzles and challenging your brain, you would really LOVE this book. This book had what I like to read about. Action, personality, detail, scary moments, bonding, and, frankly, too many other things to list. You need to read York: The Shadow Cipher!!! Thank you for writing this book Laura Ruby
Twins Theo and Tess along with their neighbor Jamie embark on a century old quest to solve a puzzle for the Morningstar Treasure. Can they solve the puzzle in time to prevent their building from being demolished? With the threat of having to move out of their beloved historical home to somewhere more bland so they can afford rent, the trio decide to give the quest a shot. Many colorful characters emerge, such as the two suspicious men lurking around the building, a nosy Kindergarten age sleuth who likes to play dress up, and a club of old cipher searchers complete with an amazing super hero hideout. Curfew, dinner time, danger, and dead ends threaten to derail their efforts. This was a really fun quest book, with a great twist on reality. It has the feel of a high tech version of National Treasure. The technology of modern day New York is much more advanced based on the inventions of the Morningstar twins, geniuses from the 1800's who had innovations in solar power and robotics. It was fresh and fun and I can't wait for the next book in the series! Ages 8+ This review first appeared on libbysbookpicks.blogspot.com and on Instagram @libbysbooks