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City of Orphans Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Avi, Ruth, Greg (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 1416971084     ISBN-13: 9781416971085
Publisher: Atheneum
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: September 2012

Annotation: Struggling to outmaneuver the news-controlling gangs of 1893 New York, newsboy Maks Geless races to prove the innocence of his sister, Emma, when she is accused of stealing a watch from the brand new Waldorf Hotel where she works, an endeavor for which he teams up with a homeless girl and an eccentric lawyer.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Mystery and detective stories.
Family life; New York (State); New York; Fiction.
Homeless persons; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries & Detective Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Family
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2012036529
Lexile Measure: 570
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.75" H x 5.25" W x 1.25" (0.54 lbs) 350 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 148119
Reading Level: 3.5   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 8.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q53888
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 15.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring)
In 1893 New York City, thirteen-year-old Maks hawks newspapers for eight cents a day. A street gang is roughing up the newsies; Maks's sister has been arrested for theft; and his father is about to lose his job. Avi's fast-paced, muscular prose, along with his Dickensian cast of characters and a mystery of comfortable complexity, make this a gratifying adventure. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #5)
Times are hard in 1893 New York City. The Lower East Side is like "the cheapest boardinghouse in Babel" -- crowded tenements and sidewalks packed with curb-stalls, handcarts, and peddlers selling their wares in dozens of languages. Thirteen-year-old Maks Geless hawks newspapers for The World for eight cents a day, but things are not right in his world. The Plug Ugly Gang has been roughing up the newsies; Maks's sister Agnes seems to have the "wasting disease," or tuberculosis; sister Emma has been arrested for theft and jailed in The Tombs; and his father is about to lose his job at the shoe factory. Author Avi is at home in the nineteenth century (The Traitors' Gate, rev. 9/07) and creates a Dickensian cast of characters, including dying detective Bartleby Donck, who helps Maks as his "farewell gift to this doomed city"; Mr. Packwood, the house detective at the glamorous Waldorf Hotel; Willa, an orphan girl who meets Maks when sh rescues him from the Plug Uglies; and the mysterious Mr. Brunswick. But this is not Victorian England: the prose is as fast paced, muscular, and informal (sometimes to a fault) as a sports column in The World. Careful attention to setting, plenty of action, a mystery of comfortable complexity (with coincidences worthy of Great Expectations), and a personable, streetwise omniscient narrator make this a gratifying adventure. Readers will root for Maks and Willa, understanding Papa when he says, "These are hard times, but good things can still happen." dean schneider Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2011 August #4)

Thirteen-year-old Maks Geless, the oldest son of Danish immigrants, makes eight cents a day hawking The World on Manhattan street corners in 1893. Newbery Medalist Avi tells his story in a vibrant, unsophisticated, present-tense voice (a typical chapter begins, "Okay, now it's the next day—Tuesday"), and it's a hard life. Maks's sister Agnes has TB, the shoe factory where Agnes and Mr. Geless work is suspending operations, and the grocer and landlord want their accounts paid. Then Maks's oldest sister, Emma, is accused of stealing from a guest at the Waldorf Hotel, where she is a maid. Amid this strife, the good-hearted Gelesses take in Willa, a homeless girl who saved Maks from a street gang. Maks and Willa must prove Emma's innocence, with the help of an odd, possibly dying detective (he's coughing up blood, too). The contrasts among Maks's family's squalid tenement existence; Emma's incarceration in the Tombs, the city's infamous prison; and the splendor of the Waldorf bring a stark portrait of 19th-century society to a terrifically exciting read, with Ruth's fine pencil portraits adding to the overall appeal. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 August)

Gr 6–8—Maks Geless, 13, and his family live in a tenement in 1893 New York City. His father and older sister work in a factory; another sister works as a maid at the new Waldorf Hotel; his mother takes in laundry; and his younger brothers are still in school. Maks works as a newsie, selling newspapers on street corners. Lately he has been fighting off a gang that is trying to steal his earnings and he has found an unlikely defender in Willa, a homeless girl his age. After his sister is accused of theft at the Waldorf and awaits trial in prison, Maks, with help from Willa and a mysterious detective, seeks to prove her innocence and defeat the gang. Avi gives his omniscient narrator the voice of an old-time movie tough guy, complete with "ain'ts" and dropped first letters ("'specially," "see 'em," "'bout"). He paints a colorful, exciting picture of city life at the turn of the last century, while not shying away from its hardships. While guests at the Waldorf live in luxury, Maks's family deals with illness, filth, and death. The plot moves swiftly, covering much in just five days. The narrative wraps up, like a gangster movie, with a shoot-out at the Waldorf. An author's note grounds the tale in history, and Avi offers additional reading and viewing options. Ruth contributes several fine pencil sketches of the main characters, placing them nicely in their environments.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT

[Page 94]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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