Review: Fever 1793

#6.  Fever 1793 – Laurie Halse Anderson


 Fever 1793 is the story of the 1793 epidemic of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania told from the perspective of a young girl, Mattie (Matilda).  Mattie lives a simple but very happy life which mainly consists of helping run the family coffee shop, along with her mother and grandfather.  When rumors of “the fever” begin sweeping the area, the family really isn’t sure what to expect.  But when Mattie’s mother shows signs of being ill, she orders Mattie and her grandfather to leave the city and the disease.  What Mattie finds is that there is just as much terror and disease outside the city as in it.  And she quickly realizes that it is up to her to figure out how to survive the epidemic.

In all honesty, I thought the novel was just okay.  I loved Speak, which was my introducation to Laurie Halse Anderson, and I love historical fiction, so I had expected to love Fever 1793.  The story was interesting enough, and it moved along rather quickly, but it took me way too long to become invested in the characters – and to care about what happened to them.  It was a worthwile read for me, though, because prior to my exposure to Fever 1793, I didn’t know there was a Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia during that time period.  Also, I found the notes at the end of the book interesting and helpful – it’s always nice to learn something while reading for fun.  Overall, I feel like Fever 1793 was a decent book, just not one of my favorites.  I’d still recommend it, especially for young adults interested in history and/or medicine.

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13 thoughts on “Review: Fever 1793”

  1. This book never appealed to me, even though I love historical fiction and Anderson’s other work. I had students who read it for the historical fiction project I assigned every year, but very few of them raved about it, so I never read it.

    I am looking forward to getting my hands on Chains, though. Seems difficult to find in my town (in BC; justifiably so, I guess), so I may have to ask them to order a copy just for me.

  2. I’ve seen quite a few mixed reviews of this one. Sorry to hear you were a bit disappointed!

    I have Speak waiting for me on the shelf and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  3. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. I think she’s writing to a different audience than the one she intended for with Speak. I totally loved her latest historical fiction which is titled, Chains. But this is what makes reading so fun because everyone has their own opinion!!

  4. I’m glad you review this one, because I too loved Speak and I just noticed Fever was also by Anderson, so I was trying to decide whether or not to try it out. But I’ll skip it. 🙂

  5. I have finished this book and I loved it. I also read An American Plague by Jim Murphy which is a historial non-fiction book about the fever epidemic. I really liked both. It would help to read about the fever epidemic before reading Fever 1793. I have to do a compare and contrast paper about the two books. I am sorry you did not enjoy the book.

  6. I was reading this book for school. and it just wasn’t the type of book i thought it would be… its really slow and the ending feels like its missing something… many parts that i felt would have been better if explained a bit more. but i don’t really recommend to young adults.

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