A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Clockwork Ghost is the second installment in Laura Ruby's York series, set in the New York of an alternate world in which the technological innovations of the mysterious 19th century Morningstarr twins shaped the city's future. Following the (literally) explosive conclusion of Book 1, tweens Tess, Theo, and Jaime are still determined to solve the cryptic puzzle the twins left behind, aided by clues that keep popping up (and driving them crazy) -- and get the legendary treasure (whatever it is) before the greedy villains and other bad guys do. Along the way there are creepy labs, nasty bad guys, scheming gun-toting bodyguards, and evil scientists kidnapping the beloved pets of our heroes for sinister purposes. There's a library's worth of history, especially around the 19th century and the Civil War, some of which introduces important African American figures who may be new to the reader. Many kds will relate to the kids adjusting to being in new homes and seeing each other less often, and there's a lot about dealing with love, loss, and difficulty while still doing your best. There's lots for lovers of codes and puzzles, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As THE CLOCKWORK GHOST opens, 12-year old twins Tess and Theo Biedermann and their BFF Jaime Cruz are dealing with quite a few adjustments in the wake of the explosion that destroyed their apartment building. The twins' family now lives with their aunt, and Jaime and his grandmother have reluctantly moved to an apartment in Hoboken. But they're still determined to solve the puzzles left behind by the legendary 19th-century Morningstarr twins, whose inventions form the infrastructure of this alternate New York. Before long, their quest takes them to an encoded message pointing to Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's math-wizard daughter, who may have known the Morningstarrs and has left behind a bejeweled silver puzzle like a Rubik's Cube with a few surprises of its own. Also, they find a lot about the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, and some unsung artists and inventors. Meanwhile, greedy villains have other plans, and their evil deeds include kidnapping kids' pets for creepy experiments.
Is it any good?
Laura Ruby delivers a relatable, complex installment of the York series, set in her alt-New York world of intriguing clockwork technology and also Nas songs. As brainy, brown-skinned tweens Theo, Tess, and Jaime delve into codes and puzzles left behind by the 19th-century Morningstarr twins in a quest to find what may be a treasure, facing a lot of peril in the process, the story packs in a lot of detail about history, math, and interesting people. There's a lot about love, loss, and still loving -- with an ending that suggests exciting develo-mentsin Book 3.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories set in an alternate (but recognizable) version of our world like The Clockwork Ghost. What's the appeal? What can you do in that kind of story that you can't in stories set in the real world? How does the York series compare to other alternate worlds you've read about?
Do you like using codes to exchange messages with your friends? How does that come in handy? What might go wrong?
What do you know about the Underground Railroad? Have you studied it or visited any places that were once part of it?
- Author: Laura Ruby
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Walden Pond Press
- Publication date: May 14, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 464
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 29, 2019
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