Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Deadly by Julie Chibarro

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.

Book Details:
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon and Schuster)
Pub. Date: Feb. 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304

My Review: My feelings for Deadly by Julie Chibarro are mixed. Seems like I’ve been reading a lot of books that have caused mixing feelings for me lately. Towards the end of last year I have started to really like Historical Fiction books. Deadly is another good YA Historical Fiction book to add to the bookshelf. Be aware that it was not a book that had me saying, “Oh I can’t stop thinking about this book and I need to read more of it NOW!” I would suggest anyone who is interested in reading Deadly to do so. I’m just one of those people who are “sitting on a fence” with this book.

The Good: Deadly is a girl power book. I felt proud to be a girl while reading this book., and if a boy reads this he will more than likely wish he were a girl. Or at the very least feel great about how far we women have come. Prudence is interested in becoming a doctor and back then it was rare for females to have what was considered a man’s job. Prudence is out to help save the world from sickness. By landing a job in the department of health she hopes to prove the doubting adults that she can work in the medical field and that it was no mistake to leave the girl life behind. Prudence and her chief are given a case of a typhoid outbreak. Will her and Mr. Soper (her chief) solve the mystery as to who or what is behind the illnesses? I liked the mystery aspect in the book. I was constantly wondering what happened to her dad. Is he alive or is he dead. Or could he very well be right in front her. What will they do with Mary once they get her to cooperate with the Department of Health? If she even cooperates with them at all.

The Bad: Deadly is written in diary entries. In my opinion writing a novel, and a story for that matter, in diary entries is challenge. Is it really possible to write a diary novel that will keep readers turning the page to find out what happens next? While the questions that Prudence had throughout the novel were the only thing that kept me reading, in order the find out the answer, I had trouble seeing Deadly as a novel. Yes Deadly is a novel, but I guess I just found it hard to see any plot in Deadly. It was mostly about a girl doubting herself and worrying about things. Plus I found Prudence to have an obsession with her best friend that moved away. I will also add that the book's synopsis was somewhat misleading. From the synopsis I thought it would be more of like a detective novel and the main character would be constantly on the hunt to solve the problem. Which was not the case.

I will give props to Julie for writing about Typhoid Mary. To have an author write about an actual person in history is rare. Most authors just like to set stories in the past and not write of a person who once lived in real life. If you like short chapters with artwork included, a little mystery, and female empowerment Deadly is the book to read.

1 comment:

Small Review said...

Very nice review. :) I agree with you about the synopsis being misleading. I was expecting a lot of interesting detective work that would suck me in and keep the pace moving quickly. That didn't really happen.