Ms. B's Reviews > Fever 1793

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Oct 03, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction, ya

Matilda “Mattie” Cook is 14 years old, growing taller every day, and growing sick of being bossed around by her mother. She has her own ideas about how to run the family’s coffeehouse and what kind of young man she might someday want to marry. But when Polly, the Cooks’ young employee, doesn’t show up at work one day, Mattie finds herself faced with a much more serious worry: Her friend has died suddenly, a victim of the yellow fever that’s crept up on the city. Soon church bells toll for the dead all too frequently, and Philadelphia is in a state of panic. As Mattie and her grandfather leave for respite in the country, no one’s survival is certain.

Based on the real 1793 epidemic that killed 5,000 in the nation’s first capital, Anderson’s novel paints a vivid picture of the fear and adventure of a city in turmoil. A thorough appendix connects readers to the facts, while Mattie’s smarts and bravery make for an inspiring heroine.
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