I’m sad that I went so long without reading any books by Laurie Halse Anderson, but I am so glad that someone recommended her to me. I’ve read five of her books so far, and I’ve loved each and every one of them. Her novel Speak was a huge inspiration for the novel I just wrote. And I can’t wait to read the rest of her books, which have been sitting on my to be read pile for the last three months.
I just finished her novel Fever, 1793, which is about the yellow fever epidemic of Philadelphia in 1793. The novel is about Mattie Cook, a fourteen year old who has big dreams of running her family’s coffeehouse business. However, the fever interrupts her plans and forces her to focus on mere survival.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read historical fiction, though it used to be my favorite genre. I ate up American Girl and Dear America novels when I was in middle school. I think this might be the first historical fiction book I’ve read since then, and it made me remember why I loved the genre.
Anderson makes you feel like you’re in 1793 Philadelphia. She takes you into Mattie’s world and shows you what it’s like to be a coming-of-age girl at this time. And she shows you the heartbreaking tragedy of the epidemic. Anderson kept me turning pages, dying to know what would happen to Mattie.
Mattie’s story is very inspiring. She faces heartbreak after heartbreak as each member or her family, including herself, falls victim to the fever. Yet she perseveres, and still fights for her dream of running the coffeehouse. I highly recommend this story about a girl coming into her own in the face of tragedy.