Friday, October 30, 2015

Chasing Secrets

Lizzie Kennedy's life is by no means perfect.  Her mother died when she was little, so now she is in the clutches of her Aunt Prudence who only seemed concerned with making Lizzie into a proper young lady for Chicago society in 1900.  Lizzie secretly loves science and struggles to get along with the other girls at Miss Barstow's finishing school.

When a plague quarantine in Chinatown puts everyone on edge, Lizzie finds a secret in her own home.  Her family's beloved cook, Jing, has gone missing and Lizzie fears he is caught in the quarantine.  Her doctor father is away on a call and won't be back for days.  No one listens to Lizzie's pleas for help.  After Jing's disappearance Lizzie discovers his son Noah hiding in Jing's attic bedroom.  The two quickly become friends, and Lizzie's resolve to rescue Jing is strengthened.

All the important people are saying there is no plague in San Francisco, but if this is true, then why is there a quarantine?  And what does a monkey have to do with anything?  Lizzie has plenty of questions, but no one wants to listen to a girl.  At best they tell her not to "worry her pretty head" about these things.  Will Lizzie uncover the truth in time to save someone she loves?

Gennifer Choldenko's new book is a medical mystery inspired by the real life plague outbreak in 1900 in San Francisco.  It is a fascinating story with a great author's note about which parts of the story were based on real people and events.

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