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5,5412321,534 (3.88)171
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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Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
A twenty year old book written about a 230 year old epidemic and never more timely. What has changed? Pandemics still bring out the best and worst in people, and how you fare is largely to do with your race and economic status. When you read the historical facts in the appendix you realize how skillfully the characters were created out of real people’s lived experiences. A shout out to the archivists who kept all this information safe and accessible, and to Laurie Halse Anderson for shedding light on this chapter of history. ( )
  Lindsay_W | Aug 5, 2022 |
unsettlingly relevant historical fiction ( )
  mutantpudding | Jul 29, 2022 |
On both reads, this story was...kay. When I first read it, I was learning about the craft of writing that was more in-depth for me. One of the things I learned about was the trope of the mean parent, and that having your chapters open and close with the main character waking up and going to sleep was indicative of weak writing. This book has both of those. Every single chapter transition except for a handful is sleep-related. I was bored of it both times, and it was so annoying. At first, I tried to excuse it. "Oh, she might wake up and have someone dead near her. Oh, she might wake up sick. Oh, she might, she might." Or, this may have been one of the author's first novels and that's how she knew to do transitions at the time. She got much better over time.

The mean mom is quickly written out, replaced with the adored grandfather and the love interest. Love in the time of an epidemic! Family loyalty to an adored parental figure in the time of an epidemic! Wow. These are devices I still do like. It just got repetitive and kind of predictable. Both reads, I didn't want it to but it did. The ending made me roll my eyes both times. Duh, I thought the first time, irritated. Second time: and it's here because we need a cliche that approximates a happy ending! Sigh. I'm glad this was written, though.. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 28, 2022 |
Nice historical fiction about the Yellow Fever epidemic. Interesting medical history as well; wasn't that long ago when bleeding someone was common practice. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Liked the strong heroine, with her big dreams and her willingness to do the work. Halse Anderson does an amazing job with evoking the historical time period and atmosphere. I didn't know anything about this particular episode in time, and I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
This is a great historical fiction for middle school through adults. I don't remember being taught anything about the yellow fever epidemic that consumed Philadelphia in 1793 so I was really interested after reading the description.

In the beginning of the book, Mattie Cook is a typical kid with big hopes and dreams. She often butted heads with her hard-working mother who owned and operated a coffee shop. The shop was normally packed all day, but as the fever spread, more and more people fled to the country leaving Philadelphia a ghost town.

Mattie came down with the fever after being stranded in the middle of nowhere by a family that she had paid to take her and her grandfather to a friends farm outside the city. She was found laying by the side of the road by French nurses who took her and her grandfather to their hospital.

Mattie recovered and returned to Philadelphia to look for her mother. Instead, she saw people dying in the streets and carts full of the dead being taken to mass graves. Her mother was not at home and the shop had been ransacked. Food was in such short supply everyone ate very little.

You can feel the pain, sorrow, and determination on every page. Mattie's character evolves and grows up quickly. She kept going through it all never giving up or loosing faith that her mother was alive and would return to town.

The first frost of fall came with a huge celebration, marking the end of the yellow fever pandemic. Philadelphia's once hauntingly silent streets were packed with Philadelphians eager to return home. At the time, Philadelphia was the capital of the growing United States. When president Washington returned to the city, the last of the residents came home.

I enjoyed this quick historical read and highly recommend it to middle grades and up. It gives the reader a glimpse into the struggle of staying alive in a time when there were no treatments.

As always, happy reading! 📚
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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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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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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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