The novel's main character, Lizzy Kennedy, is a thirteen-year-old who doesn't fit in at Miss Barstow's School for girls because she is much too independent, open-minded, and interested in science rather than etiquette. While her physician father encourages Lizzie to assist him in serving his patients, there is a great deal of prejudice towards those too poor to pay for available vaccines, particularly residents of Chinatown. Ignoring the wishes of her peers and family, Lizzie fights to discover the source of the plague that is ravaging the city and endangering the life of her new friend Noah, the son of her family cook. She is willing to risk her own life and reputation to hide Noah, fight the propaganda of the newspapers, and alienate her wealthy aunt and uncle in order to do what is right, rather than what is easy.
Lizzie is a heroine and protagonist that defies gender and stereotype. Her example reminds both adolescents and adults that thinking, reading, and researching for ourselves are tools that never grow dated. Chasing Secrets provides adventure, action, and intrigue from beginning to end.