York: The Shadow Cipher, Laura Ruby
When I picked up Laura Ruby’s YA novel Bone Gap in 2015, I did so for the promise of bees and magical realism. What I was left with was a sense of wonder that comes along when you find a book that you know no other will replace. She captured small town life in a way that I immediately connected with. So what happens when an undeniably talented author takes hints of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, add a healthy dose of Blade Runner, and pack it into an intermediate novel? You get York: The Shadow Cipher.
In York, Laura Ruby has carefully crafted an alternate New York City that feels as vibrant, diverse, and authentic as the real New York is. This is due in no small part to the wonderful trio of characters at York’s heart. Tess and Theo Biedermann are twins named after the enigmatic architects who arrived in New York in 1987, and disappeared 57 years later leaving only their inventions and the Old York Cipher (a treasure hunt laid out across the city) behind. When a sinister real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell the apartment building they live in, Tess, Theo, and their friend Jaime decide it’s up to them to solve the cipher before their families and dozens of others are evicted from their homes.