Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
A deadly pandemic, a budding romance, and the heartache of loss make for a stunning coming-of-age teen debut about the struggle to survive during the 1918 flu.
For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country--that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode--and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?
Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?
A good read for fans of historical fiction…
…And that is exactly what I am. As a nurse, I am fascinated by things like epidemics and how they affect society. I was also pleasantly surprised that our main character volunteers for the Red Cross and we got a little peak into the nursing and medical side of things. Those aspects are what made this book for me.
Let me just say though, the story does not give an excess of background information about the Spanish influenza and I found myself Google searching articles to answer my questions. (This is more from an “I-work-in-the-medical-field aspect and probably won’t affect most readers.)
I went into this story thinking there would be a lot more drama and chaos then what we actually got. It seemed to take the MC, Cleo, a little while to realize how terrible this situation actually was. And then we only get to see what she sees. Oh, and this was the one and only time that I didn’t like a romance. It really seemed pointless and took away from the story I was hoping to get. I wanted more disease related everything.
This was a very quick read. I sat down and read cover-to-cover in three hours. The prose was also well done. However, the story is in Cleo’s point-of-view and up until the point of her meeting Edmund I was thinking she was around fourteen (because of her “voice”.) It turns out she is seventeen (if I remember right?) and that took me back for a minute and I had to readjust the “Cleo” in my head.
I would recommend to fans of historical fiction or those interested in epidemics/diseases. I, personally, was hoping for something a little more intense and gripping.