Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Fever, 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson
“Mother shivered so hard, her teeth rattled. Even with all the blankets in the house on her, she could not warm. She lay under the faded bedding like a rag doll losing its stuffing, her hair a wild collection of snakes on the pillow, her cornflower blue eyes poisoned with streaks of yellow and red. It hurt to look at her.”

The summer of 1793 in Philadelphia is business as usual for Mattie and her widowed mother. They’re running their coffee shop smoothly until the day Polly, their servant, doesn’t show up for work. When Mattie’s mother goes looking for Polly, she discovers that the girl died suddenly from a fever, and a couple other people who live near the river have gotten sick as well. Mattie and the other city-dwellers ignore the sickness until it’s literally right upon their doorstep, and by then the opportunity to flee has passed almost completely. When her mother becomes ill with yellow fever, Mattie and her grandfather leave Philadelphia for a friend’s farm to avoid getting sick themselves, but one mishap after another hinders the journey completely. Mattie and her grandfather must outrun the sickness, but the disease is just as fast as the breeze itself.

Laurie Halse Anderson captures the fear surrounding yellow fever perfectly, even inserting important people of the time into her story. Fever is full of time-appropriate language and references, and any history buff will find this book both interesting and entertaining. I would recommend this book to girls in eighth through tenth grade, though I do believe that anyone with even a slight interest in history will enjoy the story.

I GIVE THIS BOOK FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS





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