Jessica's Reviews > Fever 1793

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Oct 28, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult-and-kids
Read in October, 2008

I read this young adult novel about Philadelphia's yellow fever epidemic in one evening. It made a neat parallel to Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, which I read recently and loved - the key difference was really that Life As We Knew It was set in the near future and involved an asteroid knocking the moon out of orbit, while Fever 1793 was set two hundred years in the past and involved the sudden onset of a disease that quite literally decimated the population of Philadelphia, then the capital of the U.S. In both cases, life for the teenage female narrators was completely upended, and they had to learn to survive by relying first on their families and eventually on themselves alone. Fever 1793 is an engaging and well-researched novel, but I think ultimately I'm giving it four stars because it didn't quite stack up to Life As We Knew It. In the latter, I honestly wasn't sure if the narrator was going to make it through, or how she'd pull it off - her troubles felt much more palpable to me. In Fever 1793, Mattie was so strong and self-assured that even when she was doubting herself, it still seemed obvious that she was going to make it through, get the guy, turn the family business into the shop she dreamed of, etc. This was still an excellent novel and well worth reading, but moreso for the historical insights than the survival-skills aspect.
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