Deadly by Julie Chibaro (Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, February 22, 2011)
Prudence Galewski is nothing like the average sixteen-year-old girl living in New York City in 1906. Unlike most of her classmates Mrs. Browning's School for Girls, she's not interested in learning to be a housewife or to find a job that is proper for a young lady. Instead, Prudence is interested in learning about the human body and illness. So when she is offered a job at the Department of Health and Sanitation, Prudence eagerly accepts and leaves school to begin her new job.
At her new job, Prudence works as an assistant to Mr. Soper, who is tracking cases of typhoid in the city and nearby. Prudence finds her job fascinating as she can finally learn about some of the things she has always been curious about. Eventually their search leads them to Mary Mallon, the infamous "Typhoid Mary," a healthy woman who was somehow spreading the disease.
Deadly is written in the form of Prudence's diary, so it reminded me of the Dear America series which I love, but written for slightly older readers. Prudence was a very determined and likable character. In a time when women were beginning to gain more rights and job opportunities, Prudence was determined not to be an average young woman with an ordinary life, but to follow her interests, even though it meant working in a field where there were few women at the time. Readers who enjoy historical fiction with strong female characters are sure to enjoy Prudence's story.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.