A young girl's fight to stay alive

Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson

I kept my eyes closed, trying to see Polly happy, joking, maybe stealing a kiss with Matthew, then bursting through the door to tell me. It couldn't be real. How could Polly be dead?

- Chapter 3


Some doctors warn we may see a thousand dead before it's over. There are forty thousand people living in Philadelphia, William. Can you imagine if one in forty were to die?

- Chapter 8


My eyes closed. It was never going to stop. We would suffer endlessly, with no time to rest, no time to sleep.

- Chapter 25


In the year 1793, yellow fever hits Philadelphia and hits it hard. Mattie is separated from her sick mother and forced to flee the city with her grandfather. When he falls ill, Mattie must help him and take care of herself. She must fight to survive.


I read this book as part of my study of books for ages 9-12 with strong female protagonists.


This book deals with a lot of suffering, but Mattie is a survivor. No matter what happens, she doesn't give up. Despite all the death and sadness, there is a message of hope. Towards the end, Mattie spends a great deal of time caring for others. She also shows that she knows what she wants and is determined to get it.


This is a good historical fiction book and the first book I read on this topic. It is well-written and easy to read.  


Recommended to:

Ages 9-12; readers who enjoy historical fiction or books with strong female characters.