Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Memes: Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Book Beginnings is hosted bRose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko. 279 p. Wendy Lamb Books/ Random House Children's Books, August 4, 2015. 9780385742535.

Publisher synopsis: 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.

First line: I find a spot on the bench in front of the line of carriages, buggies, and one stalled motorcar facing the wrong direction, trying my best to ignore the other girls; whispered plans as they clime into each other's buggies after school.

Page 56: I pluck a pillow off his head. A purplish-red half-moon rings his left eye. His lower lid is red and swollen. The white of his eye is pink.
"What happened to your eye?"
His hand covers his face. "Ran into a doorframe," he mumbles.
I pull his hand away and gently inspect his face.
"Where what?"
"Was the door?"
"Don't ask so many questions."
"It's only one. This doesn't look like it needs sutures. Put some ice on it," I advise.
He turns away. "I'm not going to take you."
"But what about Jing?"
He pulls the pillow back over his face. "What about him? Look, I've got things to do. Now get out of here."

I am a huge fan of Ms. Choldenko. Moose Flanagan is one of my all time favorite characters. I was so rooting for Al Capone Does My Shirts to win the Newbery the year it was released. It Honored. The sequels lived up to the promise of the first. 

I'm about halfway through this and trying not to swallow it whole. 


  1. I am a big Gennifer Choldenko fan, also. Now that I'm retired I'm not as up to date with the middle grade reading. I'm adding this to my list.

  2. I'm intrigued. Lovely cover too!
    Happy Easter weekend!

  3. Love the title. The book sounds good too.

    I would hate boarding school. :)

    Have a great weekend.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings