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Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Summary: Fever 1793 is about a girl named Mattie who is living in Philadelphia in 1793, right before the Yellow Fever epidemic and working in a coffeehouse run by her mother, grandfather, and their maid Eliza. Soon the fever begins to spread through her city, and when he mother becomes ill, Mattie and her grandfather attempt to flee the city. However, her grandfather becomes ill, and then Mattie herself. Once Mattie has recovered, they return to the city- however, it is completely desolate, and their house has been robbed. When they are attacked by robbers, Mattie's grandfather passes away, and Mattie is left to her own devices. On her way to the market after burying her grandfather, she discovers a child, Nell, who's mother has died of the fever, and Mattie takes her in. Mattie makes contact with Eliza, who is caring for her brother's sons, and stays with her and Nell. Soon, Nell and the twin boys come down with the fever, and Mattie and Eliza have to stop helping others to care for them. They move into the coffehouse, and when all have recovered after the first frost, the city comes to life again. Mattie asks Eliza to be her partner in getting the coffeehouse started again. Soon, her mother arrives from staying with relatives (Mattie believed she may have been dead), and the family moves on after the tragedy of the fever fades away.

Personal Connection: I remembered reading this text when I was much younger and not enjoying it, however, I greatly enjoyed it this read! It moved quickly, and I noticed a few historical elements along the way, like The Free African Society, and the crazy medical tactics using by the doctors- such as bleeding and purging their patients. I enjoyed reading more up on the historical elements in the back of the book.

-author's personal website: http://madwomanintheforest.com/

Application to Teaching: Again, not appropriate for a K-1 classroom, however I could see it being used in a history class in high school to offer a fictional perspective of the 1790s in Philadelphia, or to learn more about the spread of Yellow Fever. ( )
  alliecipolla | Jul 19, 2017 |
In Philadelphia (then, the capital of the United States) in 1793, yellow fever struck, taking about 10% of its residents. The outbreak hit in August and didn't subside until November. This fictional account is told from the point of view of 14-year old Mattie, who lives with her mother and grandfather; as a family, they run a popular coffeehouse. When the fever initially strikes, some people leave the city, while others (at least initially) don't believe it's anything more than a regular fever that tends to strike every fall. A series of events happens that forces Mattie to grow up quickly.

I thought this was really good. I liked how Mattie's character developed over the course of the story. Because it's YA, it was quick to read. There is also a detailed appendix at the end - explaining more about the fever and what happened, as well as some additional history - that I found very interesting. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 20, 2017 |
Fever 1793 is a story dealing with the yellow fever epidemic that stuck Philadelphia in 1793. A young lady named Mattie is caught up in the crisis. The story is as suspenseful as a zombie outbreak, except this was real. Mattie was able to see the fever move from house to house, killing nearly 20% of the population. Mattie is sent away, gets sick, loses contact with her family, and then struggles to cope with the new upside down reality.
This book was gripping for the first 150 pages. It was difficult to put down and was extremely captivating. But, the mystery is gone and the inevitable conclusion didn't deliver its intended impact. But I still liked the book and enjoyed having so many subtle details given about an incredible epidemic.
The author did a great amount of research for the book. I enjoyed reading about how Hamilton and Dr. Rush dealt with the outbreak. This book reminded me that this was once the center of our country. I like the inclusion of Bush Hill and how it was once viewed as a place to die then converts to a sanctuary. This was a nice book and an easy read. It could be introduced to a class studying disease or the birth of our democracy. I really like the cover of the book with detail given to the yellow eye. This was a nice book written by a good author, Laurie Halse Anderson. I appreciated her research and may look into other books she has written. ( )
  S.Johnson | May 2, 2017 |
The best word I have to describe Fever 1793 is "insipid." The caveat: it has been a long time since I have read YA fiction, so maybe I'm just uninitiated. That said, personally I found the characters flat, and the plot overwhelmingly predictable.

Fever 1793, a chapter book suitable for ages 9 and up, has some redeeming qualities. First and foremost, it is very historically accurate. Everything about this book was well-researched, and the author intertwines tidbits of history using real historical figures as characters, real historical places and institutions, etc. Also, though it is done in a borderline rote way, the book presents unconventional heroes: strong women, strong people of color, vivacious elderly men and women. Finally, the book does include source notes and historical information at the end.

The book is set during Philadelphia's 1793 yellow fever epidemic, and truly that was a time of unconventional heroes. The founding of our country was largely controlled and directed by wealthy white men, but that very cohort abandoned the nascent capitol in droves as the deadly illness broke out. Instead, Philadelphia's very soul was saved by the Free African Society, the young, the old, and the otherwise too poor to escape. This book certainly captures that, or at least communicates that through words.

I would probably not use this book as a teaching tool, because I did personally find it quite dull. Instead, I would use the nonfiction An American Plague by Jim Murphy, which in my opinion presents a more compelling narrative, and is at least as well-researched. ( )
  EBolles | Apr 28, 2017 |
I recently read "An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793" so the facts learned from that book were fresh in my mind while reading Fever. I must say, everything was extremely spot on. The timeline was right, the major players were right, details of the disease progression were right, I even forgot most of the time that this was fiction and not another extremely well written piece of non-fiction. I found it interesting that the first plague victim we hear about in Fever is African American, whereas the first victim was a French sailor according to An American Plague. While they may have been fairly silent in popular culture at the time, The Free African Society was far from it in 1793. As African Americans were thought to be immune to the sickness, they were not, many African American maids saw patients in their homes that nobody else would go into and saved the lives and hopes of so many. ( )
  ehwall | Apr 19, 2017 |
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Awards and honors
The City of Philadelphia is perhaps one of the wonders of the world. —Lord Adam Gordon, 1795
Oh then the hands of the pitiful Mother prepared her Child's body for the grave... —Letter of Margaret Morris, 1793
This book is for my father, Reverend Frank A. Halse Jr, the finest man I know.
First words
I woke to the sound of a mosquito whining in my left ear and my mother screeching in the right.
A hot wind blew trash and dirt through the abandoned stalls. It looked like an enormous broom had swept away all the people.
"A field plowed by the devil," I murmured. "They're not even using coffins."
Though we were all healed of the fever, some wounds were inside the heart and would mend slowly.
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Book description
In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689848919, Paperback)

On the heels of her acclaimed contemporary teen novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson surprises her fans with a riveting and well-researched historical fiction. Fever 1793 is based on an actual epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia that wiped out 5,000 people--or 10 percent of the city's population--in three months. At the close of the 18th century, Philadelphia was the bustling capital of the United States, with Washington and Jefferson in residence. During the hot mosquito-infested summer of 1793, the dreaded yellow fever spread like wildfire, killing people overnight. Like specters from the Middle Ages, gravediggers drew carts through the streets crying "Bring out your dead!" The rich fled to the country, abandoning the city to looters, forsaken corpses, and frightened survivors.

In the foreground of this story is 16-year-old Mattie Cook, whose mother and grandfather own a popular coffee house on High Street. Mattie's comfortable and interesting life is shattered by the epidemic, as her mother is felled and the girl and her grandfather must flee for their lives. Later, after much hardship and terror, they return to the deserted town to find their former cook, a freed slave, working with the African Free Society, an actual group who undertook to visit and assist the sick and saved many lives. As first frost arrives and the epidemic ends, Mattie's sufferings have changed her from a willful child to a strong, capable young woman able to manage her family's business on her own. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:06 -0400)

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In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

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