Title: Deadly Author: Juile Chibbaro Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 304 Pages (February 22nd 2011) From:the Author, Thank You!
Synopsis: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.
Review: 3 Stars - Julie Chibbaro’s Deadly is a Young Adult Historical novel written from the perspective of a teenage girl looking for scientific explanations into the workings of not only illness and diseases, but also of the human body. Set in the early 1900’s, it’s almost unheard of to have a girl or woman take on a roll such as a doctor or scientist, and the main character Prudence questions much of what’s in front of her and around her. She takes on a job with the Department of Heath during the time when Typhoid Mary was unknowingly spreading the illness to others.
For me as a reader, the writing didn’t flow as evenly as I tend to like. It distracted me somewhat from the characters and the story. I think this comes from, in part - historicals being a hit or miss when it comes to one I can connect with. It’s not to say that the writing was bad, not by a long shot, it’s just for me… during this period of time, how people spoke, it’s not something I find myself easy to connect with. The story as a whole is interesting and otherwise easy to follow.
Prudence as a character was intriguing and took chances and risks I often wondered why she wasn’t questioning things a bit more. I assume it’s from being a girl or woman in that period of time and wanting to go into the field she wanted to, made her not question things as much as she should. However I always like watching a character grow and while the growth was in small movements at times it was there, making Prudence a character with some strength behind her.
The other characters in this novel didn’t make as much of an impact on me as our main character Prudence. They were there to help carve out a path she would follow, and were extremely important in her life and for that alone, are important to the telling of her story.
All in all, author Chibbaro has written a unique fictional tale about some very real people - from all she’s researched of the past - and interweaved throughout the story her own imagination making Prudence and Typhoid Mary women who’s story needed to be told. I would recommend this title to anyone who loves Historical novels. Enjoy.
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