Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
Release Date: Feburary 22, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Challenge: YA Historical Fiction Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York.
Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?
If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.
With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?
Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.
This was a great historical novel about a disease and a person that I only thought I knew about. If I had to describe this novel with one word it would be interesting. And I don’t mean that in a bad way…. I was fascinated by the way Prudence mind worked. I think to constantly question everything as she does would be absolutely exhausting… but at the same time I remember that curiosity that I once had myself. I remember my mom bought me a microscope and I spent hours looking at slides on that thing… and I wonder where that curiosity went.
I would categorize this novel more as a middle grade than a young adult, although I don’t mean to imply that YA readers wouldn’t enjoy this novel, because they would…. but this is definitely something that MG readers would enjoy. Prudence has a very “young” voice, ultimately I think it has to do a lot with the time period in which she is growing up in, but still MG readers would devour it!
I was especially fascinated with the author’s note at the end of this book. She described her experience with Typhoid Mary and it was much the same that I had. I had never pictured Mary as a person… someone who couldn’t understand how she could be perfectly healthy yet carrying this awful disease and infecting people with it…. I had always assumed that she was a villian, infecting people on purpose, I think perhaps that is why I enjoyed reading this novel so much. It was a learning experience! And Prudence was a wonderful narrator to follow.
I recommend this book for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793!