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 is