It may be that we were never destined to be a match, "York: The Shadow Cipher", first book in a trilogy by Laura Ruby. I am quite a bit older the kind of reader you were looking for, but I assure you, I am quite young at heart.
First of all, let me say, I am sorry it took so long for me to finish reading you. To be honest, I was reading other books. I mean, you have perfectly nice and interesting characters, your plot line has a kind of decent arc to it, and the thing you have going with the kids-as-heroes is certainly commendable. And I always knew eventually I would come back and finish things up, even if it had to be tiny excruciating piece by tiny excruciating piece. It’s just... there’s something missing... like, maybe it’s chemistry or something, man.
Can I be honest, though? I mean, I said I was going to be. The kids-as-heroes? It’s actually a little cliche, now that I think about it. And it wouldn’t be so bad, except for all the other cliches, like the ciphers/puzzles those kids are all interested in solving, and the sort of altered-reality/steam-punk version of New York where the story takes place. Maybe if the puzzles were actually solvable for the reader, that would help. It’s just kind of a yawn for me. There’s nothing wrong with you, though — it’s really just me. I mean, you shouldn’t change — there is someone out there for you! I’m just not that into you.
You're probably not old enough to get that reference. Sorry.
Do you want to still be friends?