Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
During the summer of 1793, there was an outbreak of Yellow Fever that killed about 5,000 of the 50,000 residents of Philadelphia. The main character is 14 year old Mattie Cook, a hard worker determined to see her family's business, The Cook Coffeehouse, succeed. Then, Mattie loses her childhood friend to the disease. Then her mother becomes ill, and there is a possibility she will get well. Her grandfather and Mattie must try to leave Philadelphia in hopes of staying free from illness, but things do not go as planned.
The novel is mostly fiction, but the time period, and the events happening during the time period are real. You will get a sense of the culture of Philadelphia in the late 18th, but you won't be overwhelmed with historical details. Mattie is a likeable protagonist.
I only gave this three stars because it didn't move as quickly as I had hoped it would. It is also recommended reading for middle grades, but, except for a few students with a working knowledge of history, some of the details may get lost while attempting to read for comprehension. I don't think the average middle grade student would find it exciting enough to fully keep their attention. Most of my middle schoolers say it is "good" or "okay" but never "great."
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