With its rich history and long-standing traditions, it only makes sense that authors would want to capitalize on its cultural significance and write a story set in Philadelphia’s unique backdrop. Sure, there are stories set in New York for a dime a dozen, but Philadelphia has its own treasures, too. Here are a few to check out if you’re in the mood to appreciate all of Philadelphia’s independent spirit:
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book has proven to be a pretty popular choice in elementary schools all over the country, but if you’re from Philadelphia, it’s almost a rite of passage today. Though a novelization of an actual event that happened, Fever 1793 depicts a young girl’s struggle to stay alive and healthy during the summer of 1793, when Yellow Fever ruled Philadelphia and no one was safe. It’s an important moment in the city’s history and written on a level that almost any age can comprehend.
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
In Her Shoes tells the story of two sisters in a Jewish-American family who have only bonded over two things: their mutual shoe size and the fact that they hate their stepmother. It’s a coming-of-age story that addresses infidelity, learning disabilities, the loss of a parent, and even the reconciliation of family members. It was also turned into a movie in 2005, by the same name.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
You knew this one was coming, since its fairly recent film version with none other than Philadelphia native Bradley Cooper. The story also features the city’s beloved Eagles and lots of iconic landmarks. Anyone who’s been to Philadelphia even once will appreciate the heart of this novel. After reading the book, you can even go grab a meal at the Llanerch Diner in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which is the exact setting of one of the most pivotal moments in the story.
Dr. Mutter’s Marvels by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
There’s undeniably a ton of history in Philadelphia. After all, the document that birthed our nation was signed there, so how can it not? But here’s a piece of history that you might not have learned about in school as much, and it’s the medical history of the city. This nonfiction book will take you all over Philadelphia in the mid-nineteenth century, and the discoveries and medicine we have today because of these doctors’ painstaking work. It’s worth a look, even if you decide to skip around to different chapters.