Caroline Davis

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

In Books on March 2, 2010 at 9:01 am

Summary: Matilda “Mattie” Cook lives in Philadelphia, where her widowed mother and grandfather run a successful coffeehouse. Mattie usually has a lot of chores to help keep the business running, but she doesn’t mind going down to the bustling marketplace, and she enjoys seeing her garden thrive. Everything changes when an epidemic of yellow fever charges through the city – the richest citizens flee to the countryside, those who remain are surrounded by the sick and dying, and robbers and thieves roam the mostly empty streets, looking for abandoned houses to ransack. Mattie catches the fever, but survives, waking to find her mother missing and her grandfather weakened by illness. The garden is dried up, and the marketplace is empty – will Mattie starve before the epidemic ends? Will she ever see her mother again?

Highlights: As with many of the best-researched historical novels, Anderson takes an actual historic event – the Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 – and recreates the city with figures both real and imagined. Each chapter is headed by a quote from the real letters and writings of those who experienced the epidemic, which adds even more to the authenticity. By following Mattie’s story, readers can vicariously experience the devastation and aftermath of a disaster, and hopefully never have to experience something like it themselves.  An ALA Best Books for Young Adults.

Extras:

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Official Website

Interview with Laurie Halse Anderson (Reading Rockets)

Interview with Laurie Halse Anderson (School Library Journal)

Other Reviews:

@ The Shady Glen

@ Shelf Love

@ Royal Reads

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