Life wasn't that different in 1793. 14-year-old Mattie hates getting out of bed in the morning and is fed up with her mum nagging her. She's sure she can look after herself - and she's got big plans for the future, if only somebody would listen. But when her friend Polly comes down with yellow fever and the disease starts to spread through the ...Read MoreLife wasn't that different in 1793. 14-year-old Mattie hates getting out of bed in the morning and is fed up with her mum nagging her. She's sure she can look after herself - and she's got big plans for the future, if only somebody would listen. But when her friend Polly comes down with yellow fever and the disease starts to spread through the city, even Mattie has to get serious. Suddenly she's fighting to keep her world - and her family - together, in a desperate struggle to survive...Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-03-04 PW called this ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged 18th-century Philadelphia "extremely well researched. However, larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak." Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-07-31 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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