Thursday, December 8, 2011

City of Orphans

City of Orphans
by Avi

The streets of 1893 New York are full of life: crowded, filthy, dangerous.

If you are a newsboy like thirteen-year- old Maks Geless, you need to watch out for Bruno, leader of the Plug Ugly Gang whose shadowy, sinister boss is plotting to take control of all the newsies on the lower East Side.

With Bruno’s boys in fierce pursuit, Maks discovers Willa, a strange girl who lives alone in an alley. It is she, stick in hand, who fights off the Plug Uglies--but further dangers await. Maks must find a way to free his sister Emma from The Tombs, the city jail where she has been imprisoned for stealing a watch at the glamorous new Waldorf Hotel. Maks, believing her innocent, has only four days to prove it.

Fortunately, there is Bartleby Donck, the eccentric lawyer (among other employments) to guide Maks and Willa in the art of detection. Against a backdrop alive with the sights and sounds of tenement New York, Maks, as boy detective, must confront a teeming world of wealth and crime, while struggling against powerful forces threatening new immigrants and the fabric of family love. (description from

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical adventure.

Maks and Willa were both strong, interesting characters. Their friends and family were also fascinating and well fleshed out. There were people representing all facets of live in New York City in the 1890s.

Avi did an amazing job creating a vibrant and living historical New York City. It felt as if you could walk right into the lobby of the Waldorf. You could smell the garbage on the streets. You could feel the cold, hard floor that Willa slept on...

Though I was able to connect all the mystery dots before the end of the book, it was so intriguing to see everything actually play out that I did not mind at all. I loved watching Maks and Willa actually put everything together as they figured out pieces of the puzzle.

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

No comments:

Post a Comment