Monday, March 21, 2016

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793My name is Matilda. Yellow Fever is spreading throughout Philadelphia, and many of our neighbors are fleeing the city. Catching the fever will most certainly result in death. My mother, grandfather, and I are doing our best to keep the coffee house going, but fear of the fever makes people crazy. My mother orders me out of the city after she falls ill. My grandfather and I are left stranded, and the next thing I know, I wake up in a hospital with the fever, waiting to see if it will kill me too. 

Books like this are attractive, because they're based on actual people and events. The author captures the paranoia that goes with a deadly disease spreading across Philadelphia. The cause is unknown, so the medical treatments are pure guesswork. I was happy to see Maddie finally realizing blood-letting actually harms the patients! Her character displays great courage and determination against overwhelming physical and emotional obstacles. The plot has little action, but the epidemic creates a compelling problem. Lovers of historical fiction will savor this book.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1)My name is Delphine. Papa is sending my sisters and I to Oakland to spend a month with Cecile, our mama, for the next month. But Cecilie left us when Fern was just a baby, and she don't want us around. She says she never asked for us to come and won't even let us go in the kitchen for a glass of water! She sends us to Ming's for Chinese food cause she won't cook, and we have to walk to the Center every morning for breakfast. The Black Panthers run the Center, Cecilie prints posters for them too, and I'm scared we might get hurt. The Panthers protest against the police for the rights of us colored people, and we color posters for them after eating breakfast. The police don't like the Panthers, and I heard about a boy, only a couple years older than me, who was shot down right in the middle of the street! I have a bad feeling about the rally in two weeks, but I'll never forget what happens there.

This story takes place in the early sixties during the civil rights movement. It shares the frustrations and anger of minorities during that time, and it shares the frustrations and anger of daughters trying to understand a mother who abandoned them. The author describes the mother's lack of emotions toward her kids, and the resolution doesn't satisfy my frustrations toward her. I enjoyed the closeness of the girls and how they stuck up for each other. I was surprised and amused by Fern's poem at the rally. Who would have thought this little girl could steal the show at a civil rights demonstration?