I first heard of this book a couple years ago from my niece, who was 11 at the time. She was reading it when I went home for Christmas and was raving about it. (My niece is as big a bookworm as I am.) At the time I just thought it was great that she was reading a fictionalized account of a historical event. A year later, she was re-reading it. I rarely re-read books myself, so I thought that it had to be good.
It is the story of 14-year old Mattie Cook, who lives in Philadelphia with her mother during the yellow fever outbreak in the summer of 1793. Mattie is a headstrong girl who has big dreams, but listens to her mother. When the fever hits, her whole world is turned upside down, and friends and family leave town or fall victim to the disease. Ultimately, it is a story about a young girl who is forced to grow up too quickly, who has to deal with issues far beyond what many adults go through. It is a story of loss, survival, and overcoming adversity.