Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Laura Ruby  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: in New Jersey



Illinois Connection

Ruby currently lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Laura Ruby is on the faculty of Hamline University's Masters in Writing for Children Program. She also writes fiction for adults, young adults and children. Her young adult and children's books Lily's Ghosts, The Wall and the Wing and Good Girls have garnered her many awards and nominations which are listed below. The Wall and The Wing has also been optioned for a major animated feature by Laika Studios.Ruby's short fiction stories for adults have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Other Voices, The Florida Review, Literal Latté, Sycamore Review and Nimrod. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her adult short fiction. A collection of these stories appear in her book I'm Not Julia Roberts.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Wall and the Wing, The
ISBN: 0060752572

HarperColl. 2007

A few, nicknamed leadfeet, are forced to forever spend their lives closer to the ground. But one night, a girl named Gurl—a leadfoot, an orphan, a nobody—discovers that she can do something much better than fly.

She can become invisible.

Along with a new friend, a boy named Bug, Gurl begins a quest that takes her on a wild ride through the magical city, all the way to the handsome but lethal Sweetcheeks Grabowski—the gangster who holds the key to Gurl's past . . . and the world's future.

The Chaos King
ISBN: 0060752580

HarperCollins. 2007

In a city filled with wonders, one girl can do the most wonderful thing of all.

Georgie is special.

Not only is she the one person who can disappear at will, but since she found her parents, she's become The Richest Girl in the Universe. She may be special, but is she lucky? Her parents have forbidden her to vanish, her new school is full of snooty heiresses, she's had a growth spurt that makes her as graceful as a grizzly, and her best friend in the world, a belligerent boy named Bug, seems to have abandoned her.

But adventure is just around the corner, as a madman who calls himself The Chaos King has Georgie and Bug in his sights. In their efforts to save themselves from his insane plans, Georgie and Bug discover some of the amazing secrets of the city they love. Their journey will lead them to confront a pack of blas vampires, a living lion of stone, a disgruntled teenage poet, a candy-loving sloth, The Second Richest Girl in the Universe, a fussy man named Mr. Fuss, and finally, the brink of the unimaginable. . . .

Lily's Ghosts
ISBN: 0060518316

HarperCollins. 2005

A sinister old house, an intriguing new friend, a fifty-year-old mystery, and a tag-team of disgruntled ghosts force thirteen-year-old Lily to unearth her family's deepest secrets in this multilayered tale that's both hilarious and harrowing, comic and creepy.

York: The Shadow Cipher
ISBN: 0062306936

Walden Pond Press. 2017

“The pleasures of the novel go far beyond the crackling, breathless plot and the satisfaction of watching the puzzle fall into place. The book is shot through with humor, both laugh-out-loud and subtle.” New York Times Book Review

From National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner Laura Ruby comes an epic alternate history series about three kids who try to solve the greatest mystery of the modern world: a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City.

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before.

Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York.

And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

"An epic mission to solve one of the greatest mysteries of their time.

I loved this book. It is full of twists and turns" (from the review, which named York: The Shadow Cipher

one of the best books of 2017).

Good Girls
ISBN: 0060882239

HarperTeen. 2006

Some people would say this is the story of a photograph. How it was taken, and what happened to me after the whole world saw it.

And it is.

But it's also the story of a lot of other things. A boy so beautiful he's like a punch to the throat. Best friends—the outrageous old ones and the out-of-the-blue new. It's about fishnets and eyebrow rings and a chick named Hamlet. Kick lines at lumberyards and conga lines at the prom. Crying in cars and gazing at stars. Mistakes, misunderstandings, and misconceptions. Good girls, bad boys, and everyone in between.

This is a story about love.

So look at the picture all you want.

I am so much more than what you see.

Play Me
ISBN: 0061243272

HarperTeen. 2008

Eddy knows how to play the game.

He is, after all, the writer, director, and cameraman—the mastermind, really—behind the hit online TV show Riot Grrl 16. When it wins a contest to be aired on MTV (and it obviously will—have you seen the competition?), he'll be famous.

Then there's the game of love. Eddy knows all the tricks, and his favorite girls are the ones with the fishnets and cherry lipstick and legs up to there. The ones who know he doesn't make any promises. The ones who are cool with it.

But as graduation looms, everything and everyone starts deviating from Eddy's master script. Never in a million years did he expect to be facing off again with the unapproachable, perfect Lucinda Dulko. For once in his life, he's not in control—and to be with Lucinda, he's willing to get swept up in the game. But what happens to a player when the rules suddenly change?

Can Eddy find a way to win it all?

Or will he get played?

Bad Apple
ISBN: 0061243302

HarperTeen. 2009

"If I really wanted to open up, I'd confess that I really am the liar everyone believes I am."

High-school junior Tola Riley has green hair, a nose ring, an attitude problem, and a fondness for fairy tales, which are a great escape from real life. Everyone thinks she's crazy

everyone says so. Everyone except Mr. Mymer, her art teacher. He gets her paintings and lets her hang out in the art room during lonely lunch periods.

But then rumors start flying and Tola is suddenly the center of a scandal. The whole town is judging her—even her family. When Mr. Mymer is suspended for what everyone thinks is an affair, she has no choice but to break her silence. Fairy tales won't help her this time . . . so how can she tell the truth? And, more importantly, will anyone believe her?

Bone Gap
ISBN: 0062317601

Balzer + Bray. 2015

National Book Award Finalist * Printz Award Winner for Best Young Adult Book of the Year

“Ruby’s novel deserves to be read and reread. It is powerful, beautiful, extraordinary.”—School Library Journal

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps.

So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. But Finn knows what really happened to Roza. He knows she was kidnapped by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a tale of the ways in which the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume
ISBN: 1416531041

Gallery Books. 2007

A collection of personal essays by some of today's most popular young adult and women's fiction writers considers the ways in which the books of Judy Blume influenced their emotional, social, and physical developments, in a volume that includes contributions by Meg Cabot, Cara Lockwood, and Megan McCafferty. 50,000 first printing.

I'm Not Julia Roberts
ISBN: 0446578746

Grand Central Publishing. 2007

An insightful and witty collection of interconnected short fiction explores life after divorce in ten tales that deal with ex-wives, ex-husbands, children, and stepchildren, as it follows Lu Klein, her spouse's ex-wife Beatrix, Beatrix's new husband's daughter Liv, and Liv's mother Roxie, as they all deal with the complexities of a new blended family. A first collection.


-- Lily's Ghosts

Parent's Choice Silver Honor for Fiction, 2003

The Center for Children's Books Best Books List, 2003

“Best of the Best,” Chicago Public Library

Books for the Teenage List, New York Public Library

Sunshine State Award Book, Florida

State Award, Rhode Island The Wall and the Wing

Book for the Teen Age List, New York Public Library Good Girls

Book Sense Pick, 2006

Quick Pick, American Library Association, 2007

Top Ten Books, Reading Rants, 2006

Books for the Teenage, New York Public Library's

ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2014 Bone Gap

Starred Review, Booklist

Starred Review, Kirkus

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Starred Review, Voya

National Book Award Finalist, 2015

Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, American Library Association, 2016

ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2016