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Fever 1793 [Paperback]

Laurie Halse Anderson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2002 The Seeds of America Trilogy
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.
Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The opening scene of Anderson's ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in the late 18th century shows a hint of the gallows humor and insight of her previous novel, Speak. Sixteen-year-old Matilda "Mattie" Cook awakens in the sweltering summer heat on August 16th, 1793, to her mother's command to rouse and with a mosquito buzzing in her ear. She shoos her cat from her mother's favorite quilt and thinks to herself, "I had just saved her precious quilt from disaster, but would she appreciate it? Of course not." Mattie's wit again shines through several chapters later during a visit to her wealthy neighbors' house, the Ogilvies. Having refused to let their serving girl, Eliza, coif her for the occasion, Mattie regrets it as soon as she lays eyes on the Ogilvie sisters, who wear matching bombazine gowns, curly hair piled high on their heads ("I should have let Eliza curl my hair. Dash it all"). But thereafter, Mattie's character development, as well as those of her grandfather and widowed mother, takes a back seat to the historical details of Philadelphia and environs. Extremely well researched, Anderson's novel paints a vivid picture of the seedy waterfront, the devastation the disease wreaks on a once thriving city, and the bitterness of neighbor toward neighbor as those suspected of infection are physically cast aside. However, these larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak. Scenes of historical significance, such as George Washington returning to Philadelphia, then the nation's capital, to signify the end of the epidemic are delivered with more impact than scenes of great personal significance to Mattie. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I woke to the sound of a mosquito whining in my left ear and my mother screeching in the right. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fever 1973 July 7 2004
Author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson writes her amazing historical fiction book, Fever 1793 about a teenage girl named Matilda a.k.a. Mattie who faces difficulty and fights for her life. The story is written really well and Laurie Halse Anderson does a good job making Matilda sound like a girl in the 18th century. In Fever 1793 the bonds of friendship and love is written really well.
16 year-old Matilda Cook's mother and grandfather owns a popular coffee shop on High Street. Mattie was a lazy girl with a comfortable and plain life. Her whole life changes when the yellow fever epidemic arrives in Philadelphia. Her mother caught the fever and sends Matilda and her grandfather away to be safe. They leave Philadelphia and on their way both Matilda and her grandfather catches yellow fever. So much happens like the death of Mattie's grandfather and her mother goes missing. The epidemic kills thousands of people. When winter comes the epidemic ends. The fever might have ended but the bad memories are still there.
The epidemic caused Mattie to change a lot. She was a lazy girl in the beginning of the book but then she became more responsible and strong. The character shift that Laurie Halse Anderson did was really good.
I had read her other book Speak and thought it was an ok book. But Fever 1973 is one of the best books I've ever read. This book was written I such a way that it is hard to put down. Anderson makes you want to keep reading. I read this book in 3 days and couldn't put it down. I never knew historical fiction could be so fun to read.
Fever 1793 is written so well. I couldn't find any downside besides the fact that I thought the beginning was boring, other than that it was perfect. This book really gives you a picture of the 18th century. This book was not only fun to read but it also was educational. These are two qualities that make the book great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intruiging Historical Fiction Dec 13 2010
A very informative book about the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia during the summer of 1793. It gives insight to what the daily life of girls and women was like in the late 1700's. It also illustrates the importance of the Free African Society and their efforts as well as courage in taking it upon themselves to continue to care for the victims of Yellow Fever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fever 1793 May 25 2004
A very cool author Laurie Halse Anderson wrote the adventurous book Fever 1793. Laurie Halse Anderson also wrote Speak, and other great books. Laurie Anderson wrote Fever 1793, so people would understand the devastating yellow fever that struck Pennsylvania in 1793. This story explains the reality Mattie was in. Mattie Cook, a fourteen-year-old girl who lived in Philadelphia. Her parents owned the Cook Coffeehouse, and Mattie was very proud. She had big dreams to make the coffeehouse a big company for the president. Mattie's life and dream changes after her friend, Polly, dies of a mysterious fever. Mattie was shocked of Polly's sudden death, but she was more shocked when she found out that her mother had gotten it. She couldn't admit that it was really happening. Mattie's mother decided to send Mattie to the Ludington's house, with grandfather to take her. Mattie was surprised that no one was stopping her mother. Not even Eliza, a freed slave that works for them. Eliza usually is understanding, and Mattie thought Eliza would stop Mother, but she didn't. Mattie is terribly scared when her grandfather becomes ill on the trip. Mattie and the driver's family fears that it is yellow fever, and the driver kicks Mattie and Grandfather out of the carriage. Now it was all up to Mattie to save her Grandfather and herself. Mattie learns the true fear and terror of the yellow fever. She hears terrifying screams at night, and smells blood and death everywhere. Worst of all, she sees victims dead bodies being carried out. She sees lifeless corpses in the streets. The imagery was amazing, and it makes the reader feel like they're Mattie. As the story goes on, it explains how Mattie goes back to her house with Grandfather. As soon as they go back to they house, the worst thing happens. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book shines! May 24 2004
By A Customer
This was an incrdible book, a perfect view of such a great fight for your life. It showed you everything from the inside: Mattie's fear, determination, strength and courage. It showed her immense pain, and this book kept you on the edge of your seat until the last word. Mattie suffers many, many hardships, but the one thing that makes her a strong character--and what makes this a strong book--is that she never, never, never gave up. She never gave into the fever and how it was effecting her life and the life around her. It really brings the truthful saying "you don't know what you've got until it's gone." It shows the American spirit, that we will never give in, even in times of great pain. Read this book. You won't regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great summer read! May 21 2004
By cad
I've wanted to read this book for quite some time now. I finally got my hands on a copy this past week and I read it in 4 days. I love this book because it just draws you in to the point where you don't want to put the book down. The excerpts in the beginning of each chapter just make you realize how real this story really is
Mattie is a young girl that lives during in Pennsylvania during the summer of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. She's like every other teenager and wishes she didn't have to do chores or listen to her mother complain and boss her around. But during this summer, Mattie has to face reality and grow up on her own to survive the yellow fever.
Laurie Halse Anderson did a great job in writing this book. I highly recommend this book, it's a pretty fast read and you won't want to put the book down until you finish reading it.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not appropriate for small children
My 9 yr old was given this book to read at school. This book is appropriate for older kids and adults...not for younger kids!!! Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2006 by a loving mom
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Melodramatic
The bubonic plague in Europe took 25 million lives. The Yellow Fever in 18th century Philadelphia took a mere 5000 lives and lasted a few weeks. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by mona soames
5.0 out of 5 stars Well I Usually Don't Give 5 Stars....
...but I really loved this book! It brought history to a whole new level, a level that children would actually WANT to read! Read more
Published on May 18 2004 by alyssa
5.0 out of 5 stars SusPenSe
this book is so great because it shows how hard life really was when the yellow fever was around! i felt so sorry for her in this book because she loses so much more than anyone... Read more
Published on May 10 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fight To Stay Alive
Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook in Fever 1793 has a mind of her own. She wants to grow up and run the Cook Coffeehouse in dusty Philadelphia. Read more
Published on April 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars fever 1793
I loved this book because it pulled you into the story to the point that you don't want to stop reading it and you don't want it to end. Read more
Published on April 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Fever 1793
This book, Fever 1793, gruesomely depicts the life of 15-year old Mattie Cook after the fever began (and before). Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by Stacy
4.0 out of 5 stars Fever 1793
"Fever 1793" is a book written by Laurie Halse Anderson. The book has a character named Melinda that goes by the name of Mattie. Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by Arielle
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