“Code Orange” by Caroline B. Cooney

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In the book, Code Orange, by Caroline Cooney, a teenaged boy from New York named Mitchell Blake attempts to write a biology report for a school assignment on infectious diseases. He accidentally encounters a book containing sample scabs from an early 1900s smallpox study. Unsure of whether or not he has been affected by the scabs, Mitty encounters moral and logical dilemmas involving those close to him as well as a possible bio terrorist threat after discussing the circumstances of his unique situation online.

I initially chose to read this book when I found it in my school library and thought that the concept was rather interesting and original. The idea that a previously prevented epidemic may resurface and cause new biological concerns is a complex concept not often written about in young adult books.

I would recommend this book to middle and high school aged kids who are interested in the medical field but who are not typically enthralled by nonfiction reading. The plot of the book discussed not only interesting idiosyncrasies of the medical world, but also successfully created a narrative about an adolescent faced with both everyday issues as well as more global, serious conflicts and the attempt to make advantageous choices in the face of adversity, providing substance for both fiction and nonfiction enthusiasts. Code Orange takes interesting ethical and scientific situations and examines them through an easy to relate to, compelling story making it an enriching novel to read.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Lisa F.

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“Deadly” by Julie Chibbaro

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This novel provides an insider’s look at a fascinating period of history through the eyes of a fictional teen narrator. Sixteen-year-old Prudence Galewski goes against gender and class restrictions of her day and gets a job as a secretary in the New York Department of Health and Sanitation. Soon she is accompanying her supervisor on an exciting investigation into the case of Mary Mallon, a perfectly healthy cook who mysteriously seems to be infecting her employers with deadly typhoid fever.

Historical fiction can sometimes be dry, dull or overburdened with details. This story is gripping, fast-paced and emotionally satisfying. Prudence is an especially likeable main character, full of passion and curiosity about science and medicine. In a day and age where women in America can be and do just about anything they choose, it is interesting to read such a well-drawn account of a time when a woman’s educational and career choices were much more narrow. The fast-moving text and abundance of illustrations make this a great pick for reluctant readers who have an historical fiction assignment.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Amanda Coppedge Bosky