Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Lizzy attends Miss Barstow's finishing school where she learns etiquette and decorum, but she would rather be out doing house calls with her physician father. It is 1900 and Lizzy lives in San Francisco, a teaming city with a growing China Town. When there are rumors of a plague epidemic, China Town is quarantined, but the way the quarantine is carried out doesn't seem right to Lizzy.  Her suspicions grow when she meets a quarantine refugee, Noah, and discovers that the newspapers are not telling the whole story.  Together Noah, some other new friends, and Lizzy go on a crusade to find out what is really happening. 

I read this because Ms. Choldenko is coming to the library next week along with Chris Grabenstein and Clare Vanderpool.  In know! What a triple header!  Ms. Choldenko is a Newbery honor winner for Al Capone Does My Shirts, and Ms Vanderpool is a Newbery winner for Moon Over Manifest. Grabenstein's  Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is selling like hotcakes.  I am going to the book talk for my birthday treat activity this week.

Anyway, this is an interesting and well written historical fiction.  Lizzy, with her pluck and persistence, is a complex and endearing strong-girl character.  Lizzy's father, and her friends are all fully formed, and their adventure together is firmly set in actual events that took place during this fascinating time period. Because the book is based on actual events, the plot isn't quite as linear as a made up children's novel plot.  About half way through it sounded like the story was about to end, and I thought, how is she going to fill up the next 150 pages.  But she did, admirably.  I liked this book, but I must say I didn't like it as much as Al Capone. Still, it is well worth the read if you like historical fiction. (278 p.) 

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