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A Plague Year

3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  317 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
It's 2001 and zombies have taken over Tom's town. Meth zombies. The drug rips through Blackwater, PA, with a ferocity and a velocity that overwhelms everyone.

It starts small, with petty thefts of cleaning supplies and Sudafed from the supermarket where Tom works. But by year's end there will be ruined, hollow people on every street corner. Meth will unmake the lives of fri
Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 26, 2011 Beverly rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 14-16 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: YALSA
A Plague Year had so much potential to be a powerful realistic story of a poor mining town destroyed by meth. I was hoping for a rural YA version of the must read classic David Simon book The Corner. (The book that became the basis of the HBO series The Wire.) Instead it is another disappointment from one of my favorite YA authors. The destruction of families is mentioned only superficially in a couple of conversations. The neglect and abuse of children by their addict parents is absent complete ...more
Alex Templeton
I just don't really get Edward Bloor. His books are so hit-or-miss with me. I loved loved "Tangerine" and Crusader", found "Story Time" amusing but not as good, was kinda disappointed by "London Calling", and thought "Taken" was pretty cool, and altogether was really puzzled by this book. It purported to be about a year in which meth took over a community, but that remained in the background as the protagonist dealt with 9/11 fallout, crushed on a egotistical and elitist girl, and attended a var ...more
Kelly Bryson
Tom's in the middle of a plague and he doesn't see the signs. Crazy, stupid thefts are occuring, Sudafed and ammonia are disappearing off the shelves. Nobody in Tom's hopeless PA coal town really cares except a group of kids in a drug counseling group.

I appreciated the parallels between the bubonic plague and meth use, and have put "Diary of a Plague Year" on my tbr list.

However...I found this book rather preachy and felt the characters existed mainly to highlight that meth is bad, very bad an
Jan 08, 2013 Josiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"A dead human being is worthless, no matter who you were just half an hour before. You can't ever do anything for anybody, ever again."

―Mr. Coleman, A Plague Year, PP. 168-169

Here is a story that contains most of the standard elements of Edward Bloor's great works of fiction: a small town as the setting, a modest family business in which the main teenaged character puts in significant hours for little or no practical pay, the rise of an insidious social problem that slowly takes over everythi
Nov 28, 2012 Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In 1666, bubonic plague decimated Europe, specifically England and the town of Eyam, who found that all of its inhabitants could die. The townsfolk knew that the plague could, and probably would kill them, but they could try to run. Even with this option, they stayed in the infected town, noting that if an infected escaped with them, they would be responsible for killing thousands more. The townspeople of Eyam sacrificed themselves, even though they could have lived, for the better of mankind.

Amy Lignor
Tom Coleman’s dad works very hard as the manager of the Food Mart in town. He always seems to be hustling in and out of the store, and this one morning his father runs in once again telling Tom he will be right out to take him to school. Tom waits in the van in the parking lot, and decides to use the extra time to study. As he sits there, Bobby Smalls pulls into the parking lot and almost races to the door. Bobby is one of those “perfect workers” who’s dedicated, always on time, and makes the Fo ...more
Tom's story begins on September 10th, 2001. This is the first day he and his sister Lilly join their after-school drug counseling group at the behest of their parents, who feel that both kids are genetically predisposed to addiction. The topic on everyone's mind at the meeting is the appearance of meth in their small Pennsylvania community. The next day, the planes crash in New York, DC and in a field near Tom's town. Bolstered by his English teacher, Tom begins a journal of the events that take ...more
Matt Kowaleski
Aug 23, 2016 Matt Kowaleski rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, weird
I actually enjoyed this book a lot, for some reason, enough to give it 4 stars, but objectively, there are a lot of things that are wrong with it so I decided to bump it down to three. Some random observations:
-apprently edward bloor really likes eternally burning underground fires. theyve shown up in two of his books now in two different locations for two different reasons. the fire in this one made for a cool metaphor, caldera = hell.
-speaking of metaphors, Id never really understood the meani
Claire Nichols
I didn’t really like the book A Plague Year. It was very confusing and I felt like it took a very long time to get to the point. The book was supposedly about a town where everyone started using meth and they all turned into “meth zombies” except for a couple people, and they would have to figure out how to take care of these people and help those few survivors to stop using meth. However, the book had many twists and told many separate stories. For instance, when the main character Tom went to ...more
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Sara Fritz
Dec 10, 2016 Sara Fritz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A Plague Year" written by Edward Bloor is a short book about a small town in Pennsylvania. The book is written like a journal, it has entries that explain the events that take place. While the book looks like it would be a Science Fiction novel it really isn't and contains events that actually did happen, like 9-11. but, it is in fact fiction. The book is about how the introduction of drugs effects a small society and what the people are willing to do to help out those who become addicted. The ...more
Well, I thought I would be very interested in this book because of it's content. The area that I live in is very small as well and is also dealing with a huge Meth crisis. My husband is a deputy for the Sheriff's Dept. and sees it every day. I've seen the pictures and have even known some current meth users and some recovering meth users. However, I was not looking for a book that lectured you on the use of meth. Unfortunately, this one did just that.

Tom lives in a small town in PA. His journal
Post-9/11 the world is becoming overrun with "zombies" which are really just drug-addicted, specifically meth-addicted people who are becoming more desperate to seek the drug and do dangerous things. Scenes within the book include a hold-up at Tom's father's grocery store in which Tom becomes a hero and as the story continues more people are stealing and Tom is attending drug counseling with his formerly addicted sister. The topic seemed interesting, drugs abusers as the next plague, but it wasn ...more
Mar 22, 2014 Kammera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Written in diary form from a ninth grader,Tom Coleman, the book has some good parts and some parts that made me laugh with his really cool cousin, Arthur and his voice is believable for his age. However, I felt all the trouble with the methamphetamine in this Pennsylvania town should have given the author's tone a little more passion. It was somewhat dispassionate but maybe he was trying to see through the eyes of a clueless town and more clueless ninth grade boy? I really liked the metaphor of ...more
I was so disappointed in this book. After reading Bloor's book Tangerine, which is one of my favorite young adult reads, I eagerly jumped on this book -- especially when I found out that it took place in my homestate of Pennsylvania. But the anti-drug message was overdone (forgive me, I grew up in Nancy Reagan's Just Say No campaign), and the characters were flat. Plus, while the author tries to subvert the stereotypes of rural Pennsylvania, he fails miserably. Finally, and perhaps I should let ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well written and the characters were well thought out and executed, but this story was not I thought. I was really enjoying the book in the beginning and all the way through to page 200, when I realized that it wasn't going to pick up. That nothing exciting was going to happen. That is when I became disappointed in it.

The story is about how Meth takes over a small Pennslyvania town, and the kids in the local HS are learning about it through one of their classes, in addition to the
Jun 17, 2012 Sydney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointment is not a strong enough word to describe this book. There is no character development, plot climax, or resolution. Every single character is half way developed and I will never read another Edward Bloor book again, this was an awful book. I was looking forward to an edgy story about a town taken over by meth... This was not the case. For one, Tom doesn't even have friends who use meth, he has a few acquaintances - and I hate how he compares the mom's pill addiction to an eating dis ...more
Sep 12, 2011 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yyay
This is a retroactively-journaled novel! I kind of like it better than the usual journal format, which sometimes leads to too much blitheness in the narrative tone. More hindsight is necessary here.

The theme of this book could not be accused of subtlety but I still found it believable for the most part. Except for the kindness of so many high school students - not that all of them are overwhelmingly kind--in fact, the mean ones are very mean. But the idea of so many kids going to a voluntary dru
Dec 10, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bloor's adolescent male characters are engaging and real for me because they are rarely stereotypical. The troublemakers are passionate believers in good; the studious and obedient make gloriously bad choices and get in trouble. And I like how he explores the father-son relationship (or lack of one). I am speaking generally of the Bloor books I've read as well as this one.

Oh how I wish that teachers could take this approach in school! What better way to make the plague of Europe, the black death
Rene Kirkpatrick
I really couldn't put this down. there's something compelling about stories about people in crisis. I don't think he really pulled the connections together as tightly as he could have but it was interesting: He uses an English class studying the bubonic plague to show how meth addiction in this little Pennsylvania town has exploded exponentially. How the community is reacting to it or embracing it. There are a lot of issues in the book, townie versus country, 9/11, drug addiction, hypocritical t ...more
Jul 01, 2014 Taylor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Just....ugh.
Let me start this off with saying that this book could have been such a remarkable read had the author taken a totally different approach and not butchered the holy hell out of this novel. The premise of Blackwater being overtaken by meth zombies had such an appeal to me but... (shudders violently.)

This book was supposed to be written as a journal. But the way it was written wasn't exactly journal-ish. When you write a journal you shorten a few conversations and leave out some d
Tina Lowen
I actually liked this title, but I'm giving it three stars mostly because I believe there simply could have been "more." The plot could have been slightly more developed, the characters more fully realized, etc. However, I would recommend it to young people. I think that many young people would not find the same faults with it that I do. I'm even comfortable with it for 7th and 8th graders, which is astounding, because most books about drugs in today's YA market, especially those about meth, are ...more
Lynx ~ 10/1 Never Forgetten ~ UCC Strong!
Well, this book was not what I had expected. I had been hoping for something with a little more action. However, as I read the book it started to grow on me. It started as a book where I was just waiting and waiting for something good to happen. Halfway through, I realized that wasn't going to happen; but by then there was no way I could put it down! Honestly, once that Wendy girl was barely in the book I thought it was a million times better. Seriously hated that character. Other than Wendy and ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Until I looked up the author’s website I could not recall why on earth I borrowed this book. Oh yeah: he wrote Tangerine a book often on must-read lists and a title discussed a good deal in library school.

This one was just not for me. I was not fond of the writing style which, I guess, was in the voice of the 9th grader who wrote it but it seemed so stilted and rocky.

However, if parents are looking for a milder book about drugs, its effects, and drug addiction, then this is a good title to give
Mary Farrell
Edward, I'm so disappointed! I loved Tangerine! I loved London Calling! I think you did a good job characterizing a seventh grade boy, but the story was too preachy. The bubonic plague connection with meth was a nice, but over-done touch. I appreciated the plight of kids in a small town where the economy has crumbled and there is little future, but I was disappointed in how the good kids became do-gooders and the bad kid got into meth. Arthur seems to me to be a wonderful character who didn't qu ...more
Hanna Gurrola
A Plague Year by Edward Bloor was an amazing book because of the whole situation. I rated this book five stars because I like how this book is revolving around one regular teenagers life by a journal who Tom, the teenager, wrote. In this book their whole world is changing and everybody in it. In Blackwater, Pennsylvania, where Tom lives, he starts seeing "zombies all around". The zombies are people but these people have a "plague". Tom tries to find out what happened to these people. And he does ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tour
I had the opportunity to read this book as part of Princess Bookie's ARC Tours and I thought that the premise was really interesting. Then the book arrived and I started reading. It did not take me long to figure out that this book was not for me. I wasn't really able to connect with the characters and I thought that the dialogue was pretty choppy. I didn't really get comparing drug addicts to zombies either. Overall, I think that the author has a very good premise on his hands but in my opinion ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, booklinx
This book had so much potential to be moving and educational on the effects of drugs. Comparing meth addicts to zombies puts an accurate image in your head and will probably attract some readers that wouldn't have normally picked this one up, but the story falls flat. The plot borders on completely boring, and while it has a good message, and the main character stands his ground, I just couldn't get into this one.
May 14, 2012 Lillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Ellen Hopkins, and books like that
Read this one really fast! :) Really good, although I wished there could have been a bit more character development, and actually shown/ better described the effects of meth, rather than just refering to the meth heads as "zombies". The scene at the end with the trailer was definetly my favorite part of the whole book, but I also like the 9/11 and coal mining subplots, and how the books they were reading in English tied in to the actually story itself, that was cool.
Sep 06, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

Read as an ARC from ALA. Painfully didactic, stilted dialogue. I picked it up because I loved Tangerine, but this was as simplistic as it gets. Also, while I recognize that the goal is to keep kids off drugs, I found the conflation of meth cooking/use with pot use to be a little...well, overblown. One of these things is not like the other. The zombie tie-in was also pretty awkward.
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Edward (William) Bloor

Personal Information: Born October 12, 1950, in Trenton, NJ; son of Edward William and Mary (Cowley) Bloor; married Pamela Dixon (a teacher), August 4, 1984. Father to a daughter and a son. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1973.

Career: Novelist and editor. English teacher in Florida public high schools, 1983-86; Harcourt Brace School Publishers, Orlando, FL, senior editor
More about Edward Bloor...

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