Monday, 17 August 2015

The Monkey's Secret by Gennifer Choldenko

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 249
Publisher: 6th of August 2015 
Released: Hot Key Books 

A segregated town, a hidden boy, a courageous girl - and a mystery in desperate need of solving.

San Francisco, 1900. Thirteen-year-old Lizzy Kennedy is not like the other girls in her town. She'd much rather be helping her doctor father with his patients than be stuck in frilly dresses and learn how to dance - but unfortunately for her, society (and her Aunt Hortense) has other ideas about what is 'proper' for a young lady. This includes not poking your nose in other's people's business - but then Jing, their beloved housekeeper, gets stuck in the Chinatown quarantine. Fear rules San Francisco - fear of the Chinese, and mostly fear of the plague rumours that circle them. Lizzie knows she has to help Jing, whatever the warnings. But what she doesn't expect to find is a strange boy hiding in Jing's room.

The boy is called Noah. He says he's Jing's son - although Lizzie's never heard of him - and although he's escaped the quarantine, he can't risk leaving the house in case he gets rounded-up too. Lizzie wants to investigate, but it seems her questions only get people riled up. Is there really plague in San Francisco? What have the Chinese got to do with it? Just what or who is the mysterious 'monkey' - and what has his secret got to do with anything? Lizzie will have to use all of her courage, instinct and cleverness to unravel the mystery of the monkey's secret, save Jing, Noah and Chinatown - and maybe even her change her own destiny.

What I Have to Say 

This was a beautiful story about class, race and gender, It worked so well with all the paralleling themes; Lizzy's struggles with her aunt, wanting to be a doctor when society pushes her towards marriage and more "suitable" female pursuits; Noah's similar desire to go to university when his race and class makes it harder and the search for Jung, trying to get him out of Chinatown when the whole place is under quarantine.  

I loved the mystery of everything. There were so many different mysteries  with in the main one of whether or not there is actually plague in Chinatown being very prominent with twists and turns all over the place. 

I liked the friendship between between Noah and Lizzy a lot. It was interesting how they managed the hiding and secrecy with the secret signs and messages they sent. I particularly liked the way they used the cat's collar as a way to deliver messages. 

This is not a traditional mystery, but definitely up there in with the top ones I've read this year. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review Ms. Page Whisperer!