Before there was New York with its towering skyscrapers, solarbuses, robot crews and even mechanical snails to clean windows, there was the Old York of wealthy twin geniuses Theresa and Theodore Morningstarr. And before their mysterious disappearance in 1855, the eccentric pair left behind a puzzle that remains unsolved. In award-winning author Laura Ruby’s York, a modern steampunk mystery for tweens, three seventh-graders accept the challenge of the Old York Cipher.
Jewish twins Tess and Theo Biedermann, named after the legendary cipherists, and Cuban-American Jaime Cruz all live in one of the original Morningstarr buildings. When a sleazy real-estate developer buys the property and gives residents 30 days to vacate, the young sleuths decide to solve the cipher to find its treasure and save their homes. Chapters told from their various perspectives reveal each tween’s personality and strengths, from intuitive Tess’ “catastrophisizing” to Theo’s logical mind to artistic Jaime’s fascination with superheroes.
The search for clues takes these clever kids through forgotten parts of the city and into heart-racing adventures. Readers learn more about how codes and ciphers work along with the sleuths, who can’t help but wonder if the cipher is manipulating them. Enthralling details and nonstop action will draw fans to this series opener.