Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people . . . but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.
The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.
I liked seeing how Lizzie's relationship with her aunt developed throughout the novel. Her aunt seemed like the typical society mama at first, but the more we learn about her we realize there's more to her than meets the eye. I wanted to know more about her and wish there's an adult version in her perspective. Besides the San Francisco setting, Lizzie's relationship with her aunt was my favorite part.
I didn't really feel a strong connection with any of the characters, but I still very much enjoyed the story. Ms. Choldenko's writing was very readable and engaging and I flew through the pages. I'd definitely recommend Chasing Secrets to students fourth grade and above--if I was teaching this particular point in American history, this would be a good novel to have on hand and use it to show students a different historical perspective. It was a fantastic and fun read with a spunky main character, set in an interesting period in history. The best thing about it was that I learned something new in reading this novel. Win!