Jeffrey's Reviews > Fever 1793

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Oct 21, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-children-s-ya
Read in May, 2007

Fever 1793 is one of the rare children's novels that I will recommend to adults to read.
As a middle school English teacher, reading children's and young adult fiction is part of the job. Often it is enjoyable, and often I am annoyed because I would rather be reading something else. Usually, after a spree of YA literature I must read Faulkner or a chapter from Ulysses to come out even. YA books are often formulaic. The formula includes a protagonist that is generally angst-ridden, complaining about mom and/or dad and nervous about how they act in front of their crush. They develop a newfound respect for a character in the story who is either old or diseased. This character shows unbelievable strength and teaches profound morals. And then this character dies. I have been told YA books are filled with misery because it is what kids are interested in. I guess children are not much different than adults in that regard.
Back to Fever, though. It is about Mattie Cook, who is initially unhappy with her mom, but learns to love her when she might lose her. She might lose her because the story takes place during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia. Mattie is very interested in Nathanial and is very nervous and giddy around him. She learns to love her very old war hero grandfather. He teaches her a lot as the two of them are alone just fighting to survive the epidemic. So Anderson certainly follows the formula. However, this story is very historically accurate and well-researched and she is a very good writer. It is worth a look to see eighteenth century United States citizens forced to be their very best or very worst.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Whitney I too am a middle school teacher, and while I also feel a need to read literature that is enjoyed by higher level readers, I also think that reading YA literature is an enjoyable thing, and that it shouldn't be a negative or annoying experience. I also agree that there are a lot of formulaic books out there, but don't these books relate well to life, especially life as young adults experience it? Don't adolescents (and often adults) always read them and find some sort of value in them, despite the formulaic feel? Don't they have to start being interested in reading somewhere, before jumping straight into Faulkner? Isn't it better to read these kinds of books than not read at all? There is a lot of value in them, and thinking about them strictly from the this is formulaic and predictable and base view neglects and even disregards the priceless value that these "formulaic" YA novels have.


Sophia Johnson I agree my 13 year old sister read it for schoolwork and I read it to but I'm only 11. I too believe that adults would enjoy it to. (If only they believed me and actually got around to doing it.)


Michael Lorente The funny thing is that when i was about 9 i read this and i loved it. I actually understood is surprisingly


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