Recently BookList Online came out with a great review of York: Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby. This Victorian steampunk YA book was a true joy to narrate – unique characters and settings that jumped off the page.
In an alternate New York City, seventh-grade twins Tess and Theo team up with their friend Jaime to solve a centuries-old cipher that was the obsession of the twins’ grandfather. They hope decoding the cipher will lead to treasure that can buy back their apartment building from Mr. Slant, a greedy real-estate tycoon. Verner creates distinct voices for a multitude of characters, good and evil. His voice has an appealing familiarity to it that focuses the listener on the story. He also accentuates the novel’s humor by exaggerating the creepiness of Slant’s goons, Stoop and Pinscher, and reads effectively for Nine, the twins’ gigantic spotted cat, who often interjects with a “mrrow.” Part fantasy-adventure, part steampunk-mystery, this first in a series will have broad appeal and could be just the book to hand readers in-between the 39 Clues and the Leviathan trilogy. — Alison O’Reilly Poage
York: Shadow Cipher.