Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (2000)
I read this book in one sitting. This is incredibly unusual for me, but I did it twice in the course of a week (the other time was Elie Wiesel's Night.) In this case, it was not only a quick read, but I couldn't put it down. This is actually my second reading of this book, but the first time was so many years ago all I remember is that I liked it.
I always forget just how much I like historical fiction until I'm actually reading it, and historical teen fiction is even better. I love that Mattie is such a typical teenager, even though she lives in a time that is very different than today. She gets really frustrated at her mother, has all sorts of ambitions that her family doesn't support, and of course has a serious flirtation with a boy her mother doesn't approve of. Mattie's father is dead, but her grandfather lives with them and is very important to her. I loved their relationship and the way they stuck together when times got really rough.
I do love a good plague novel. (See also: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks). I even once read a nonfiction book about the flu of 1918. I think it goes along with my love of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels. I like reading about how people survive when shit really goes wrong. Even more so in a presidential election year; I like to keep things in perspective.
This book was chosen for my Not-So-Young Adult book group. A couple of years ago we read another, very different, book by Laurie Halse Anderson called Wintergirls, a contemporary story about eating disorders. She is also the author of the well-known novel Speak, also contemporary. I've really liked everything of hers that I've read, but this one in particular is the right kind of catnip for me!