by Julie Chibbaro

Paperback, 2011




Scholastic Inc. (2011)


In the early nineteen-hundreds, sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski leaves school to take a job assisting the head epidemiologist at New York's Department of Health and Sanitation, investigating the intriguing case of "Typhoid Mary," a seemingly healthy woman who is infecting others with typhoid fever. Includes a historical note by the author.

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½ (37 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member theepicrat
deadly was almost a no-go for me, but it starts to get interesting after the first couple of chapters - it's when Prudence gets a job at the Department of Health and Sanitation that the story really picks up some steam. Before then, we had to endure the trials of finishing school where girls either
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learn to be housewives or governesses or some other seemingly unexciting things. Prudence never fits in that mold, and she has the luck of landing a secretary joy with the perks of also being assistant to the head epidemiologist.

Call me nerd or dork or obsessed health nut, but I really appreciated deadly's focus on typhoid, particularly the story about Typhoid Mary, when we were first understanding how infection actually worked. Those were exciting times - and I tend to forget that as textbooks give you the dry facts without the emotions that surely coursed through the scientists.

deadly is an excellent historical read with a narrator who will surely infect you with the same fascination that she experiences while on the edge of discovering the source of the typhoid epidemic. It was startling to see the various reactions when fingers get pointed at Mary - the servants and Irish immigrants who want to protect their own, the infected families who only see a healthy cook who is able to nurse them back to health, the Department who want to locate and isolate the source of infection, and Prudence's inner turmoil of how the accusations will affect an actual human's life.

I'm not sure what to make of the ending. Although I am really pleased with how Prudence turned out, the ending seemed a little too wishy-washy and I wish it provided a little more resolution to what happens to Typhoid Mary, Prudence, and the rest of the characters involved .
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LibraryThing member IceyBooks
I've read quite a few YA historical fiction novels. Never have I come across a novel set in the early 1900's, during the time of Typhoid Mary, until I picked up Deadly by Julie Chibarro.

Prudence has always been fascinated by the sciences. She longs to find a way to save lives from disease and
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sickness. She sees death everywhere, especially after her brother died.

Soon, she aquires a job in the Department of Health, where they've started investigating a mysterious case of typhoid outbreaks.

Deadly is written in the form of sixteen year old Prudence Galewski's diary entries. She started writing ever since her father left them. Ever since he joined the war and never came back. Is he dead? They have no way of finding out, but they've been waiting for nine years.

I expected more out of Deadly. Judging by the title and the cover, I expected more action, more significant things to happen. I was pretty disappointed by the fact that there was nothing to make me want to flip over to the next page. The only reason I read the whole thing was because I started reading it in the first place.

I contemplated giving Deadly 2 stars, but in the end, I decided on 3. I must give credit to the author for thoroughly, as can be seen in the writing and the author's note, researching a topic I've never seen in young-adult fiction. But if I had a second chance, I doubt I would pick up Deadly again.

-Would I recommend this to anyone? Probably ages 11 and up
-Is there a second book? I doubt it
-Will I be looking forward to book two? It depends...

I like the cover, especially the bright contrasting colors. However, the cover doesn't really represent or hint at what's inside the book.
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LibraryThing member skstiles612
The case of Typhoid Mary was something I grew up believing was just a myth, until I started this book. About half way through the book I found I had to stop and do some research of my own. Chibarro's facts are very authentic. My research into this person did not diminish my love of this book at
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all. She addressed several issues of the time. She mentioned the suffragettes and the role women played during that time. The fact that the main character Prudence Galewski is not like the other girls sets this up perfectly. Where other young ladies are looking at getting typing jobs, finding the right man and presenting him with lots of children, Prudence wants to find out what causes diseases and how to prevent them. There was a lot to learn about the beginning of the medical studies into bacteria. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a book I couldn't stop reading once I started. I will definitely recommend it to everyone I know.
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LibraryThing member callmecayce
A fascinating historical fiction novel about the search for the source of a typhoid outbreak, and later the woman (Typhoid Mary) who was determined to be the cause. Told from the point of view of a young woman, destined to be a scientist, the story is fast paced and completely engrossing. I
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thoroughly enjoyed the novel, even though I'm not usually fond of historical fiction. One of the best things about this book is how Chibbaro brings to life a young woman who wants to be something young woman of her time barely dreamed of being -- a scientist. While this book is, in fact, about typhoid and science and a strong historical novel, at it's heart, it is a novel of young feminist, ahead of her time.
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LibraryThing member lilibrarian
A fictionalized version of the search to track down Typhoid Mary in New York City in 1906, in a time where transmission of disease was not understood. The main character in this story is fictional, a young girl who wants to become a doctor and works for the Department of Health and Sanitation. Most
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of the other main characters are taken from history.
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LibraryThing member BookSpot
Sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski lives in a time where girls are expected to go to school (if they do at all) only to learn how to be better wives and mothers or perhaps obtain a secretarial job. 1906 is also a time when typhoid and other disease outbreaks are quite common around New York (where
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Prudence lives).

With a father gone off to war--and missing for years now--and a brother who died before that, Prudence has seen death and despair. Instead of leaving her longing for the security of a husband and family much as her friends want, Prudence instead finds herself instead interested in disease.

She wants to find out what's causing people to get sick and prevent it.

When a job helping in the sciences presents itself, Prudence knows she's found her calling. And with Deadly based on the woman who became known as "Typhoid Mary," there's a lot for Prudence to investigate.

Told in diary form, Deadly is a unique look into not only what it was like to be a girl in 1906, but to be a girl who was a little different from the norm. It's also a look into what science was like in 1906 and what people believed and did.

I'll admit to not knowing anything about 'Typhoid Mary' before starting Deadly so I can't say what it would be like for a reader who did already know about typhoid and Mary, but I really enjoyed the book. There wasn't a breakdown of the sickness so you don't truly get a feel for what typhoid did to people but that works for the story being told through Prudence and her diary.

The little superstitions that people believed at the time, what was expected of girls, where science/biology was at the time really interested me and, I thought, added a lot to the story.

I think this would be a fantastic read for either history classes because even without exact, large events to match it to, Deadly really gives you a feel for the time with a character readers can connect with and relate to. I also think it'd be great for science classes because I found myself a lot more interested in the experiments I'd done in biology and looking through a microscope after reading this book and the 1906 perspective.

I think this book has some of Prudence's drawings included in it, but my egalley didn't include them so I can't review that part of the book--I'm definitely going to look for a finished copy and see, however!

Now a high reading level YA, could even be MG/YA but still very enjoyable for YA and older readers.


(Read with a *huge* thanks to GalleyGrab)
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LibraryThing member Krissy724
What an interesting book! The narration is told in diary entries written by Prudence Galewski, a young Jewish girl living in NYC. Prudence has always been fascinated by how the body works and what causes people to get sick, while others are able to stay healthy. She takes a job at the Department of
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Health and Sanitation and learns about germs and bacteria and how it spreads from person to person. To us, this might not seem so interesting, but in 1906, this was still a new concept that many people were not able to understand. At her job, Prudence and her employer, Mr. Soper traces the origins of the fever to a woman named Mary Mallon, which the press nicknames, “Typhoid Mary”. She carries the disease, and infects the people that she cooks for, but she herself has never been sick. Up until Mr. Soper and Prudence find her, no one, including Mary, is even aware that she carries the disease. It is up to the Department to find out how this is possible.

Deadly is a great work of historical fiction, and Chibbaro does a wonderful job capturing the world as it was in the early 1900’s. I kept forgetting that I wasn’t actually reading a real diary from the time period! I also enjoyed the authors note at the end of the book. Chibbaro explains what parts of this book is true, and how characters like Mary and Mr. Soper were real. I would recommend this book to young people interested in history and/or science. It’s almost like this book was written especially for them!
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LibraryThing member KarenBall
This is the story of Typhoid Mary, one of the most infamous carriers of disease ever! Told through the diary of 16-year-old Prudence Galeski, who's been hired as an office/laboratory assistant at the New York City Department of Health and Sanitation, the story follows the investigation into a
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possible typhoid epidemic in 1906. At the time, the idea that someone who appeared to be completely healthy carried a germ or disease and could spread it to others was new -- and considered unbelievable by many. Mary Mallon was a fine Irish cook for a number of wealthy families who thought she was wonderful... but no one talked about how every family she worked for became infected with typhoid fever until the investigation. Typhoid is a bacterial disease, often fatal at the time, and Mary had unknowingly passed the bacteria into the food she prepared for the families. The scientific evidence at the time was not as well understood as it is today, but the team used every means they had available to prove their case and get Mary quarantined, including having her chased, tackled, and handcuffed by the police! Historical fiction for the science-minded. 7th grade and up.
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LibraryThing member ALelliott
Everyone expects Prudence Galewski to be a proper young lady and learn to keep house, play music, and paint exquisitely. But Prudence has no interest in being a proper young lady. Inspired by the midwifery assistance she gives her mother, Prudence is instead interested in science, specifically the
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human body and how it works. So she is thrilled to land a job with a medical laboratory in her local New York neighborhood. Her supervisor, a epidemiologist, is tracking a mysterious fever that is affecting people in every social caste in New York, from slums to mansions. It seems like the outbreak is nearly random until one constant appears: Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant who has been a cook in every home where the disease occurs. The mysterious part is, "Typhoid Mary," as the press dubs her, has never been sick.

Chibbaro explores many spheres of turn-of-the-century New York in this coming of age novel, from the changing roles of women to xenophobia. As Prudence describes the events in her journal, the reader begins to understand just what a great time of social change this was. Prudence is a likable teenager, level-headed and eager, trying desperately to move a rung or two up the social ladder by becoming a scientist. She perseveres, even when it seems hopeless, which will get the reader rooting for her.

At times, however, Prudence's, well, prudence and attention to detail make this a bit of a slog. The story picks up once Mary Mallon appears, but the complicated story line and sophisticated vocabulary really do make this a better choice for high school kids, or at least advanced middle school readers.

Grades 9 and up
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LibraryThing member leftik
A historical YA, our main character, Prudence, gives us glimpses of her life through her journal entries, covering subjects as broad as losing a father to war and brother to untimely death, working in a profession that barely accepted women and tracking an elusive typhoid fever that appears to have
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no known cause.

I'm not sure I enjoyed the diary format - but I can't decide if that's because I just don't like that format to begin with or I just didn't think it worked well with this story. Prudence has a lot going on, so, it was great to see how her mind was working. However, I never really felt connected with her and I feel like it might have been better in a different style. Maybe? Not sure.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed Deadly, if only because the medical history was interesting (like old-school CSI!). It helped that Prudence was well-rounded - not every diary entry was about her work at the Department of Health - and Prudence's family story was an intriguing mystery, as well. I'm not sure this one would be a fit with everyone, but worth a look if you're interested at all in historical fiction.
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LibraryThing member reader1009
teen fiction/ historical (Typhoid Mary). Story told from young girl who helps discover cause of typhoid at a time when people didn't know about germs yet. I like the premise (especially where the science comes in) but I found the execution to be somewhat lackluster--the time period did not come to
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life and I did not care about the characters at all. Maybe someone that enjoys historical fiction more than I do would appreciate?
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Original publication date



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