This is my first Choldenko book. I never got around to the Al Capone series, I'm sure to my own loss. I picked this one up after reading an interview with the author. Something about her explanation of character development just drew me in. I'm so glad I did read it, because this is an excellent book. Even though it is a book for a juvenile audience, it successfully addressed racism, classism and sexism (all the bad -isms) in a realistic way. It was never heavy-handed, but very natural. The main character, Lizzie, is the daughter of a doctor in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Rumors of the plague reaching the states are running around and Chinatown is being blamed. Lizzie is a smart, skilled girl, but being a girl, she has a lot of difficulty getting men to answer her questions. She is determined to rescue Jing, a Chinese servant who has been with her family since before she was born, but keeps hitting walls trying to get answers or help from those around her. I loved that the characters had some hidden qualities that weren't revealed all at once. I also appreciate that it had a relatively unexpected ending. Life doesn't always turn out the way we want it to, but it does have a way of resolving itself. This book really showed the resiliency of the human spirit and I enjoyed it a lot.