Chasing Secrets

Chasing Secrets

Paperback - 2016
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Newbery Honor-winning author Gennifer Choldenko deftly combines humor, tragedy, fascinating historical detail, and a medical mystery in this exuberant new novel.

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.

Winner of a Los Angeles Public Library FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature) Award
Nominated for:
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award (Middle School division)
Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL) Readers Award
California Library Association's Beatty Award, Eureka List
Publisher: New York : Yearling, 2016
ISBN: 9780385742542


From Library Staff

Lizzie dreams of being a doctor like her father, but instead she's stuck at a snobby school for girls. Then, the plague breaks out, and it might be up to Lizzie to help save the people she cares about.

In 1900 San Francisco, Lizzie spends the weekends helping her physician father and discovers a different side of the city: one filled with angry mobs and rumors of the plague.

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samdog123 Nov 27, 2015

Written by the author of 'Al Capone does my shirts,' and 'Al Capone Shines my shoes,' this is another historical title dealing with the plague outbreak in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. Many racial and gender stigmas are addressed here, and its a great look at this period in history and the panic that a disease can cause in a population.

ChristchurchLib Sep 21, 2015

"Despite the lack of science classes at her fancy finishing school, 13-year-old Lizzie Kennedy hopes to become a doctor. It's an unusual ambition for a girl in 1900, but Lizzie is smart and curious. That curiosity leads her to question the rumors of a bubonic plague outbreak in Chinatown, especially after Chinatown is quarantined and Jing (the Kennedys' cook and father to Lizzie's friend Noah) is trapped inside. Blending strange-but-true history with politics and mystery, Chasing Secrets will captivate readers of all kinds. For another visit to San Francisco with author Gennifer Choldenko, check out the Al Capone at Alcatraz series, beginning with Al Capone Does My Shirts." Kids' Books September 2015 newsletter

Chapel_Hill_KarinM Aug 31, 2015

I was intrigued by the setting of lesser-known bubonic plague outbreak in 1900 San Francisco (Chinatown), and the book did a good job of telling a story and weaving in historical detail. It also read pretty quickly. Solid.


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