Fever 1793 | Laurie Halse Anderson

In the summer of 1793, the city of Philadelphia is overcome by a deadly epidemic. It’s up to 14-year-old Mattie to make sure she and her loved ones make it to autumn alive.

Awards & Honors

• A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, 2001
• Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Choice Book Award, 2003
• Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2003


Matilda “Mattie” Cook is 14 years old, growing taller every day, and growing sick of being bossed around by her mother. She has her own ideas about how to run the family’s coffeehouse and what kind of young man she might someday want to marry. But when Polly, the Cooks’ young employee, doesn’t show up at work one day, Mattie finds herself faced with a much more serious worry: Her friend has died suddenly, a victim of the yellow fever that’s crept up on the city. Soon church bells toll for the dead all too frequently, and Philadelphia is in a state of panic. As Mattie and her grandfather leave for respite in the country, no one’s survival is certain.

Based on the real 1793 epidemic that killed 5,000 in the nation’s first capital, Anderson’s novel paints a vivid picture of the fear and adventure of a city in turmoil. A thorough appendix connects readers to the facts, while Mattie’s smarts and bravery make for an inspiring heroine.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.


April 20, 2009. Tags: , . Historical Fiction. Leave a comment.