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.
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.
"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.