Fever 1793

Fever 1793

For Ages: 10 - 14
  • 29
An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where "the plot rages like the epidemic itself" (The New York Times Book Review).

During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689848919 | 
  • March 2002 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9 | 
  • Lexile ® 580L
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide to

Fever 1793
By Laurie Halse Anderson

About the Book

August 1793. Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook is ambitious, adventurous, and sick to death of listening to her mother. Mattie has plans of her own. She wants to turn the Cook Coffeehouse into the finest business in Philadelphia, the capital of the new United States.

But the waterfront is abuzz with reports of disease. “Fever” spreads from the docks and creeps toward Mattie’s home, threatening everything she holds dear.

As the cemeteries fill with fever victims, fear turns to panic, and thousands flee the city. Then tragedy strikes the coffeehouse, and Mattie is trapped in a living nightmare. Suddenly her struggle to build a better life must give way to something even more important—the fight to stay alive.

Discussion Topics

1. What was Philadelphia like in 1793? What were the advantages and disadvantages of living in the countryside outside of Philadelphia?

2. How was the life of a fourteen-year-old in 1793 different from the life of a fourteen-year-old today? In which period would you rather live? Why?

3. Mattie’s grandfather didn’t think there was any need to rush out of Philadelphia when the fever started to spread. Why did some people think it was safe to stay? What would you have done?

4. The color yellow see more

More Books from this Author

The Seeds of America Trilogy
Ashes
Forge
Chains

About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson
photograph courtesy of the author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Chains and Speak, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Pennsylvania, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at MadWomanintheForest.com.

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