Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

THE GREAT TROUBLE, by Deborah Hopkinson


The story: Eel scratches out a living finding and selling things buried in the mud of London’s river Thames, which is like a huge outdoor sewer. Little does he know that it’s also the breeding ground for a deadly epidemic that will kill people he loves–and little does he know that he’ll play an important part in solving the mystery of how the sickness spreads. But can a “mudlark” ever hope to escape the gruesome disease stalking London’s filthy poor?

Mrs. Friend’s opinion: The author attaches Eel’s adventures to the real-life detective work of John Snow, a doctor  with ideas about the spread of disease, to whip up an interesting historical thriller that combines mystery (what’s the cause of the disease? And who’s the creepy Fisheye Bill Tyler?), false accusation, and hint-of-gruesome descriptions of cholera.  If you like a mystery that’s based on a real-life event, check this one out!


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