“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Friday, March 4, 2011

Deadly • Teen fiction

Available now  Athenaeum Books for Young Readers • Ages 12 and up
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York.  Could the city's future rest with its most unlikely scientist?
Story:  Every week more people fall ill, and despite thorough investigation, there's no cause in sight.  It's not until sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski takes a job as an assistant in a laboratory that the evidence begins to fall into place.  It seems one person has worked in every home the fever has ravaged:  Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant quickly dubbed 'Typhoid Mary' by the press.  Strangely, though, Mary 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.
Story behind the story: "Growing up, kids joked about Typhoid Mary as a killer who intentionally infected millions," says author Julie Chibbaro.  "When I learned the true story of the Irish immigrant who caused an epidemic in NYC in 1906, I knew I had to write Deadly. To battle this daunting woman, I had to create a strong teen girl who needed to stop the spreading fever.  I called her Prudence – read her diary to find out how she overcame this deadly outbreak!"
About the author:  Julie Chibbaro grew up in New York City wondering how so many people could live together without infecting one another with mortal diseases.  After attending Performing Arts High School for theater, she ran away to Mexico, where she survived an earthquake and a motorcycle crash and learned a little something about death.  Returning to New York, she decided to create her own fictional characters instead of playing them.  Julie Chibbaro is the author of REDEMPTION, which won a 2005 American Book Award.  Julie teaches fiction and creative writing in New York.  . 

“A deeply personal coming-of-age story set in an era of tumultuous social change, this is top-notch historical fiction that highlights the struggle between rational science and popular opinion as shaped by a sensational, 
reactionary press.” – School Library Journal, 2/11

“You guys.  I just finished Deadly by Julie Chibbaro and it is fabulous!  It gets an A+ on the Mattie Gokey Scale of General Awesomeness.” – Abby the Librarian

“I was fascinated by the true story that is revealed through reading DEADLY, Julie Chibbaro's fictionalized account of the events in New York City and Long Island at the dawn of the Twentieth century. . . . much of my fondness for this story comes from contemplating how the specific legal issues here fit into a more generalized level of tension between the rights of the individual and the interests of society.” – Richie’s Picks
Visit the author's website to download an excerpt and a guide, Skype her or request a visit, learn more about the illustrator Jean-Marc Superville Sovak, connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, or email to say hi!

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


Krista said...

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to sharing it with my students. This is a look back on a different time and the statement it makes about the roles of women at the time will be eye opening for many of our young people. The story behind Typhoid Mary is compelling. One of my favorite things about historical fiction is reading a narrative that could have really happened. This book allows you to take a trip to a different time that is often forgotten.

Christina said...

While we'll want to keep Deadly away from the picnic basket, I do rate it a 5. I was fascinated with the history of Typhoid Mary and the young narrator's quest to break into the field of medicine at the turn of the century. The dialogue seemed stilted and bothered me at first, but either it got better or I got so involved with the story I stopped noticing it. I will be recommending this book to my eighth grade students.

Karen said...

I liked the diary format -- that's a frequent request from my students, especially the girls. The line drawing illustrations were an interesting addition that made it feel more like a teenage girl's diary. I also thought the voice was a little stiff, especially in contrast to how independent and willing to be different Prudence (the narrator) was. I am looking for some nonfiction to pair this with, as I have a set of teachers who are using reading groups with historical fiction and nonfiction -- really great for teaching reading strategies and getting excited about discovering how a fictional story is connected to real events and people.

EShay said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Deadly. At first I wasn't so sure about the narrator, but once I understood her position and the era, I appreciated her style. I was intrigued by Typhoid Mary and enjoyed the problems Prudence faces. This has so many aspects: love, suspense, history. Prudence is such a strong girl who shows people should never give up on their dreams.
The diary format was interesting and fun. It was also nice how many story lines came together before the end, but not in a trite way.
I give it a 5.

Pat said...

I found Deadly to be a book that I became lost in. The diary format is always a favorite with me and also with my students. Historical fiction is also a big draw. The dialogue is true to form in people were not as free with their words as we are now. The mystery will hold middle schoolers' attention as we seem to be such a germophobic society. I can't wait to add Deadly to our media center. Deadly is a solid 5/5.

janette said...

This was my first historical fiction book. I didn't really know what to expect when i set out to read it, but I ended up really enjoying it.

I liked how the book was written in diary format. It really drew you into Prudence's character, and into that time in history.

I also appreciated how the story of her father's death was interwoven with the mystery of solving the typhoid mystery.

I also found the author's note at the end helpful in explaining more about Typhoid Mary and what happened to her during the rest of her life.

I rate Deadly a 5/5. I have donated it to our library and hope our patrons enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Lindsay said...

Deadly shows the evolution of Prudence into a young woman as she follows her dreams. I truly loved it for many reasons. First, I love historical fiction and this is set in a very interesting time in the United States - the early 1900s when women struggled in many ways. Second, I am getting more and more interested in books that deal with science and medicine as it evolved throughout history. This novel reminded me very much of Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman, which I also adored.

Deadly also focuses on science pretty heavily. Throughout the book there are awesome illustrations that accompany what is being described, as if Prudence herself was drawing these in her tablets. The illustrations definitely add a lot to the novel.

Another aspect of this novel that I loved was the setting - New York in the early 1900s. If there is ever a setting that could have supported the scientific questions of the day this was it. In the beginning, there is a description of a dog stopping to use the bathroom on the street and Prudence sees what is left behind and she describes the worms that are remaining. New York during this time was unclean, and that really does support the premise of the novel.

Interestingly enough, in the author's note in the back it states that the author had heard of the urban legend "Typhoid Mary" many times and when she stumbled upon the real Typhoid Mary in her research, she realized that the real story of this poor Irish immigrant needed to be told. While she is not the main character in the book, Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary) certainly does play a central role.

I highly recommend this one - a great, quick, and interesting read.

You can find my complete review at http://everydayadventure11.blogspot.com

5/5 - Awesome book!

Kimberli said...

Fabulous story! Wonderfully written with so many angles for discussion. The descriptions help the reader visual the time period and truly understand how different life was back then. The book offered a very positive message to girls while teaching a nice history lesson. The diary format of the story was very captivating. Through it Prudence became very real and inspiring. The reader could understand her thought processes. I think this is the type of book we should be using in school to get the students thinking and to hook them on subjects before asking them to read the typical boring history textbooks. This is the type of book that encourages the reader to want to know more. Definitely a 5 out of 5.

jgoetzke said...

A truly great read. The students enjoyed this historical event put into timeline format. The story lent itself to interesting class discussions on Typhoid Mary and this era of time. The diary format was particularly interesting to the teenage girls. I rate this book a 5/5. Get this one for your school library!

Heather Hill said...

This is one of those books that you think will be good, but then you get into it and you just can't put it down! It was beyond good - it was the whole picnic. This story captures life in the early 1900's on many different levels - roles of women, views on women's jobs, educational opportunities for women, sanitation and cleanliness in the large cities,and the evolution of the understanding of public health. "Deadly" is such a great example of historical fiction and is cleverly written in diary form to pull the reader into Prudence's story. I also appreciated the author's note at the end to complete Typhoid Mary's story. What a great read! This book is a 5 out of 5!

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading Deadly. I had the opportunity to meet Julie Chibbaro at an author's fair in Hudson, NY. I found her story facinating, and really liked the voice in her writing. I feel that this book would be a good read with the eighth grade curriculum. It was a good mix of science and social studies. I give this book a 5 in my basket and look forward to reading more books by Julie.