As proclaimed by the book’s opening line, “the true story of any city is never a single tale; it’s a vast collection of stories with many different heroes.” The city in question for Laura Ruby’s York is New York City (hence the title), though not the one you may be familiar with. This version of The Big Apple is now overflowing with new technological wonders powered by solar energy and Lion batteries, thanks to the elusive and genius twins that had helped shaped the city many years ago: the Morningstarrs. But incredible technology wasn’t the only thing the Morningstarrs left behind; they also forged the Old York Cipher, an elaborate puzzle spanning the entirety of the shining city they helped to create. A treasure beyond all imagination lies in wait for any who can solve it.
Twins Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in one of the few remaining Morningstarr apartment buildings – that is, until a powerful real estate developer buys it. With the building due to be demolished and no relief in sight, the trio decide that to save their home they’ll need to prove the Old York Cipher is real. And to do that, of course, they’re going to have to solve it.
I could tell you about York‘s intriguing plot, its sense of humour, or the clever puzzles it deploys, but those qualities pale in comparison to its sheer amount of personality. Each chapter follows a different character than the last, which in itself isn’t an uncommon practice. But where York differs is the stark contrast between each of its characters’ different viewpoints. Everything from the word choice and terminology to the overall mood of the chapter to the humour varies significantly depending upon who’s currently telling the story, making each character’s thoughts and desires seem all the more real and tangible.
For all of the reasons detailed above and many, many more, York will make an excellent addition to your classroom’s library.
Zander Strickland is a legend in the making, due to his dashing appearance, his constant attention to detail, and his unrelenting egotism. He was born in New York and now resides in New Brunswick.