Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review: "Fever 1793"

When I am not reading for school (which is not often!) I enjoy reading young adult literature, especially historical novels or fantasy series.  Recently, I stumbled across Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever 1793, an excellent historical novel for young adults from the author of Chains. The story's protagonist, Mattie (Matilda) Cook is a 14 year old girl living in Philadelphia.  Along with her mother, Grandfather, and African American cook, Eliza, she helps to run a coffeehouse near the docks in the city.  Her father died when she was young, and her mother works hard to provide for Mattie and find her an eligible marriage.  Soon, however, many people in the city begin dying of a mysterious fever. Mattie's world is changed forever when the yellow fever epidemic is declared, and the residents of Philadelphia begin fleeing the city en masse. When her mother succombs to the fever, it takes all of young Mattie's strength to survive the terrible time.
    The story is told from Mattie's point of view, and Anderson succeeds in bringing Mattie's voice to life and making the reader care about what happens to her and her loved ones.  Mattie is a strong young woman, and an excellent role model for young tween and teen girls and boys alike. Though the scenes involving death can be difficult to read, Anderson intersperses the text with moments of happiness and fun, creating a much-needed balance for the reader. This is the first book by Anderson that I have read, and I look forward to reading her others, especially Chains. So, grab this book and enjoy a good read!!