I found this book when I was looking for a book to read in the library. As I frantically searched the shelves, I recalled that Kate, one of my friends, had read a book about an epidemic… Somehow, I found it!
This book is about the epidemic of Yellow Fever that raged across Philadelphia in the summer of 1793. Fever starts off by showing what everyday life is like for the main character, Mattie. She has trouble getting up in the morning and feels like she’s always doing chores. Her main passion is the coffeehouse that her family owns. She wants to own it someday and make everything absolutely grand. Her mother starts off by playing the role of the “over-strict” parent. Mattie soon understands why her mother acts that way when the fever spreads across her town. She learns about hardship, heartbreak, and most importantly, she learns how to be an adult. (Not that she should’ve learned all this the way she did 😦 )
(Sorry, I can’t write that much about the plot without giving it away!)
I’m going to talk about the main character in this book, Mattie. Her full name is Matilda, but she’s only called that when she’s in trouble. This book is from Mattie’s point of view. She is 14 years old and very ambitious. Like I mentioned before, she dreams of running the coffeehouse her family owns. At the beginning of this book, she is an argumentative teenager (who tries the best she can but often falls short,) and by the end, she becomes a woman who helps the sick. A quote that caught me off guard and that showed Mattie’s change in mindset was one on page 196. “’No,’ I said firmly. ‘I’m not going anywhere. The work will go faster if you have me there, and you shouldn’t walk home alone after dark.’ Eliza raised an eyebrow. ‘Never knew you to look for extra work. Come along then.’ We walked in silence, east first, then north. I followed closely, not wanting to lose Eliza in the confusion of alleys and shortcuts.” The only reason I would want to meet Mattie would be because of her knowledge of this time period. I love historical fiction and I feel like I could really gain something from talking to a person who went through all she went through. Also, I would offer her therapy and some tea.
(@Tomiko~ I like historical fiction)
I would definitely recommend this book. The style of writing makes it a quick read, but the plot is very interesting. I would rate this book a 3.5/5. I learned a lot about the Yellow Fever of 1793 in Philidelphia from this book. I love how at the beginning of each chapter, the author decided to put quotes about the fever from doctors (and a few other people) who lived during the fever. These quotes add depth and bring a sense of strong reality that makes you feel the perils of the book deeper.
This book reminded me of learning about the Black Death in history class, during the Middle Ages of Europe. This book can be compared to many of the primary sources in the textbook that we used. Though the Plague spread further and killed more people than the Yellow Fever in Philidelphia, they both picture ghost towns, infected areas and a system of burial which only required digging a large pit and throwing the bodies in it.
I think that one of the main themes in this book is character development. At the beginning, we learn of Mattie’s father’s death and we can see the effects of his death projected on her mother. As Mattie develops as a person, we can see how she is becoming more like her mom– tough and hard working.
Another theme in this book is the support that African Americans gave to white people during this epidemic. There is a group of African Americans, in this book, who formed an alliance and named themselves the Free African Society. This group was able to help people who got the epidemic. They supplied food and water, two vital things that ran out fast in Philidelphia (due to the fact that farmers were not interested in selling their food to an epidemic-infested town). This shows that we are stronger together.
I also think that this book was written to be informative to the teen audience. Up to a certain point, I’m sure many teenagers could relate to Mattie. There is also a hint romance in here that would appeal to teenagers. When you mix information with things that teens are usually into, you get a book that teens will actually read and learn something from. As a teen, I appreciate that! 🙂
- 1. Why did you choose this book?
- 2. Explain the plot of the book, or if it is a non-fiction book, what topics are covered.
- 3. Describe one of the characters in the book. Would you want to meet this character? Why or why not?
- 4. What is your opinion of the book? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
- 5. Explain how this book is similar to another book, film, story, or article that you have read or seen. What connections or comparisons can you make?
- 6. What do you think the main idea or theme of this story is? What is the author trying to tell you about life or our world with this book?
Thanks for reading!Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below!