Jean-Marc Superville Sovak
Fever 1793 (Laurie Halse Anderson, 2000) meets Newes from the Dead (Mary Hooper, 2008) in this absorbing diary of a fictional teen who witnesses the epidemic unleashed on turn-of-the-20th-century New York by the infamous "Typhoid Mary." Sixteen-year-old science-minded Prudence gets the chance to use her deductive talents when she is hired as an assistant in the Department of Health and Sanitation. There, she helps her "chief" investigate outbreaks of typhoid. When one case leads them to suspect Mary Mallon, an Irish cook, of being a healthy carrier who is unknowingly spreading the disease, Prudence is torn between her medical rationality and her compassion for the woman's untenable situation. She must also deal with a male co-worker's unwelcome attention and unresolved feelings of abandonment since her father was declared missing in the Spanish American War. Rich period details about the study of medicine and the role of women in society combine with Prudence's girlish crush on her chief and her earnest desire to "do something astonishing with my life" to make this a title that will appeal to reluctant readers and historical fiction fans alike. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 12 & up) Read full book review >
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