Monday, November 16, 2009

Two by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793 Laurie Halse Anderson

In the early days of the United States and a yellow fever epidemic is raging through Philadelphia. Mattie quickly finds herself alone in a city that's been decimated by disease. She has to protect herself not only from the yellow fever, but also the thieves that stalk the streets, taking things from deserted houses. While trying to survive, she desperately tries to find out information about her friends and family and if they still live.

It's not often I'd recommend historical fiction for reluctant readers, but this is a pretty fast-moving story with just enough gross pus to keep reluctant readers engaged. I liked it.

In June, for Weekly Geeks, people asked me about books I had read, but not reviewed yet.

Eva from A Striped Armchair asked Have you read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? If so, how does it compare to Fever?

I have read Speak (and reviewed it here). I think Speak compares much more with Wintergirls (reviewed below). This is very different than speak, as it's more straight-up historical fiction and while still moving and gripping, it's for completely different reasons.

Book Provided by... my local library

Wintergirls Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia's ex-best friend is dead. She's been in treatment twice now for her anorexia. Her parents are worried that Cassie's death will trigger a backslide into starvation. What they don't know is that Lia has been starving herself ever since she left treatment.

A stark and unflinching look at the subterfuge Lia goes through (sewing quarters in the pockets of the robe she wears when being weighed, tampering with the scale, faking cooking smells) to starve to death. More than that though, it's a look into the very messed-up mind of someone who would want to do that. Someone who knows that once she meets her next weight goal of 100 lbs (at 5'5") she won't be happy until she's 95 lbs and when that happens, she won't be happy until she's at 90 lbs and on and on until she's dead.

Horrifying and amazing. I can't really add much to what's already been said by everyone else who has read this, except that I agree! I especially liked how Lia censors her thoughts, which we see through frequent use of words being crossed out and some teeny-tiny font. I like it when authors play with design to help tell their story.

Book provided by... my local library

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1 comment:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I enjoyed FEVER 1793 so much, I read it over the summer with a group of my students (summer enrichment program).

To help them remember the yellow fever symptions chronologically, I had them act them out...very memorable.

The girls also decided someone should write a book called SWINE