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Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
Amulet 7: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi
Avatar: The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow Part 2 by Gene Luen Yang
Babymouse: Dragonslayer by Jennifer L. Holm
Booked for Trouble by Eva Gates
Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
Cat In The City by Julie Salamon
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
The Circle of Lies by Crystal Velasquez
The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Ellen's Lion: Twelve Stories by Crockett Johnson
Food Wars!, Vol. 1 by Yuuto Tsukuda
Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George
Ghostbusters: Mass Hysteria! Part 2 by Erik Burnham
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Knitting Bones by Monica Ferris
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
The Locksmith issue 1 by Terrance Grace
Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
A Most Unique Machine by George S. May
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #4: Fluttershy by Barbara Randall Kesel
My Little Pony Micro-Series: #6 Applejack by Bobby Curnow
Oz: Road to Oz by Eric Shanower
Paper Towns by John Green
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
RoadFrames: The American Highway Narrative by Kris Lackey
Serendipity and Me by Judith L. Roth
Shoplifter by Michael Cho
Sparky! by Jenny Offill
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins
To Be A Cat by Matt Haig

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Chasing Secrets: 05/25/16

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko is a middle grade historical fiction about the plague which hit San Francisco in the late 1880s through the early 1900s. During that time Chinatown because a large number of rats had died in the neighborhood. There was obviously a hefty chunk of racism and classism from the wealthy white folks living in the next neighborhood over.

Choldenko's novel is set primarily in one of those neighborhoods at the peak of the plague. While Lizzie is prevented from helping her father because of the plague, their long time cook, Jing, goes missing, presumably trapped in the quarantine. But his young son is found hiding in the attic.

I'm not really sure why this book is a medical mystery. Sure the workings of the plague weren't entirely known but this plays out more like a disaster novel than a medical mystery — more Nevil Shute and less Robin Cook.

The thing that irks me with this book is how Jing and his son's stories are used as plot devices to put Lizzie and her family in danger, thus making Lizzie's story more important. Sure, Lizzie does face a plague driven tragedy, but Jing is in the heart of the danger. Jing trapped in a rat infested neighborhood cut off from the rest of the city and his son who is forced to live in hiding in an attic of a family he might not be able to trust has a lot more at stake!

But no, instead we get plucky Lizzie who gets important life lessons and gets to learn more about a new culture, blah blah blah.

Also as a side note, the appendix that includes some Chinese phrases are Cantonese. It's one of many Chinese dialects. The other major one spoken in California is Mandarin. The words while written the same are said very differently — another bit of information left out of this book.

Three stars

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