Review of THE MAP OF STARS, the Stunning Finale to the YORK Trilogy

"There are people who are human whirlwinds. They move fast, they talk faster, they think faster still. Their fingers jitter against their legs, their knees dance when they sit, their lungs heave as if they've been running a race. At night, when they try to sleep, their thoughts spin and jive."

THE MAP OF STARS, by Laura Ruby is filled with mystery and revelation, heroes and villains, hope and despair. I found myself compelled to read, each page more engaging than the past. What an epic ending to a thought provoking, stunning trilogy! The book begins with tension between the three main characters--Jaime thinks Tess and Theo have lied to him and his anger keeps him from even discussing whether he's correct or not. Laura Ruby brilliantly interweaves different time-lines and characters, creating a world of hurt and a world of possibilities. This is a read to remember!

The thrilling conclusion to two-time National Book Award finalist Laura Ruby’s epic adventure through the streets of an alternate New York City. It was only a few days ago that Tess Biedermann, Theo Biedermann, and Jaime Cruz, along with a mysterious figure from the past, managed to survive an assault on the location of the latest clue in the Morningstarr cipher—and, in the process, made a shocking discovery about their own connection to this one-hundred-sixty-year-old enigma. Now the friends are divided. Tess and Theo have no idea what the photo they found in Greenwood Cemetery means, but Jaime is convinced that they do, and that they’ve been keeping their own secrets from him. As the city continues to break around them, suddenly solving the greatest mystery of the modern world seems less important than saving their own friendship. The stakes of completing the cipher, however, have never been higher. Darnell Slant, real estate developer and owner of all the Morningstarr buildings, knows that they hold one last secret: a power that even the Morningstarrs themselves never revealed. The world has rested on a precarious balance of power for generations; now Slant and his shadowy business partners aim to unbalance it. It’s up to Tess, Theo, and Jaime to uncover the Morningstarrs’ final mystery in a desperate attempt to set things right. The world—theirs, and possibly others—depends on it.

Laura Ruby is the author of books for adults, teens, and children, including the Printz Award-winning and National Book Award finalist Bone Gap, the first two books in the York series, the Edgar-nominated mystery Lily's Ghost, the Book Sense Pick Good Girls, the acclaimed novels Play Me and Bad Apple, and Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (Fall 2019). She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program and lives in the Chicago area. You can visit her online at

ONE LAST SHOT blog tour plus GIVEAWAY!

"Sometimes conversations are full of blank spaces. Like Mad Libs.  Somebody will say something and the pause, waiting for you to think what they were too frightened or embarrassed or polite to say.  My parents ended a lot of their sentences this way when they talked to each other. They had whole conversations that seemed to be filled with unspoken words, little pits of quicksand for the other person to walk into. This blank was easy to fill. He wouldn't be mad, but he might never look at me the same way for a while."

ONE LAST SHOT is another hole-in-one for John David Anderson!  Malcolm is an authentic, nerdy  twelve year old boy who never feels good enough.  When he finally finds something that he likes to do--something that his athletic dad approves of--he has tough choices to make.  Malcolm's mini golf skills help him learn compassion, how to trust himself, and how to relax into challenging experiences.  This book has themes of family, loyalty, divorce, honesty, friendship, self esteem, competition, and love.

About the book:
The beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous, heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf.
For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough. Not for his parents, who have always seemed at odds with each other, with Malcolm caught in between. And especially not for his dad, whose competitive drive and love for sports Malcolm has never shared.
That is, until Malcolm discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys. Maybe it’s the way in which every hole is a puzzle to be solved. Or the whimsy of the windmills and waterfalls that decorate the course. Or maybe it’s the slushies at the snack bar. But whatever the reason, something about mini golf just clicks for Malcolm. And best of all, it’s a sport his dad can’t possibly obsess over.
Or so Malcolm thinks.
Soon he is signed up for lessons and entered in tournaments. And yet, even as he becomes a better golfer and finds unexpected friends at the local course, be wonders if he might not always be a disappointment. But as the final match of the year draws closer, the tension between Malcolm’s parents reaches a breaking point, and it’s up to him to put the puzzle of his family back together again.

To win a copy of this book, comment on this post. If you share on facebook or twitter, you get another entry. Giveaway closes in one week.

About the Author
John David Anderson is the author of some of the most beloved and highly acclaimed books for kids in recent memory, including the New York Times Notable Book Ms. Bixby’s Last DayPostedGrantedSidekicked, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wonderful wife and two frawsome kids in Indianapolis, Indiana. He’s never eaten seven scoops of ice cream in a single sitting, but he thinks it sounds like a terrific idea. You can visit him online at