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A Death-Struck Year

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,872 ratings  ·  393 reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
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♥ Sarah
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
*I received this ARC from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The “catch-line” description reads: 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.

### 1


Yeah... so it’s the Spanish freaking Influenza, y’all. Millions upon millions of people – young and old alike – died painful, horrible, tragic deaths.

And yet, where was all the drama? Despite the trage
Bitchin' Reads
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am sobbing. Edmund is a dream. Cleo is a hero. So much sadness and happiness.

Ruta Sepetys and this author should write a book together!

Update 6/13/2017: I still go back to this book at times when my mind meanders. It shows in the book that the author researched extensively and implemented the information she had gathered for this time period. Cleo is that young woman you strive to be and wish to have by your side-- she is smart, kind, caring, and willing to put forth that extra effort when the
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
A riveting take on one girl's quiet heroism during the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918.

The Spanish Flu killed between 30-50 million people world wide. More people died from the flu than during the First World War and the Black Plague. And yet it's somehow been reduced to a footnote in history, eclipsed by the horrors of trench warfare and poppy fields.

I think I probably would have given this about three stars if it didn't take place in Oregon. Granted, it was in Portland, but so many location
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*This review also appears on the blog Chasm of Books*

Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers for this book via Netgalley

Well researched and haunting, A Death Struck Year is a novel about the heartbreaking truths of the Spanish Influenza outbreak that took so many innocent lives. Aside from the grim realities it portrays, it is also a story about a girl who is brave enough to go out into the world and give aid to those who need it most, despite the risk of getting infected herself.

I ling
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars: A must read historical book!

World War I wages on killing thousands and now a new threat has arrived. There are reports of a deadly outbreak of the Spanish Flu back East. For seventeen year old Cleo Berry, the flu is thousands of miles away from Portland, Oregon. Cleo's biggest worries are putting up with living in the school dormitories while her brother and his wife are away traveling and deciding what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Once Jack and Lucy leave, the flu arri
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s 1918 in Portland, Oregon and 17-year-old Cleo Berry is living temporarily in the dormitory of her school when her guardians, her older brother and his wife, leave on vacation to celebrate their anniversary. Soon after their departure the news everyone has been dreading arrives: the Spanish influenza has made its way to th
☼Book her,   Danno☼    thepam
A DEATH-STRUCK YEAR reminds me of some of the American Girl books. It's well-researched and works hard to convey the essence of an era. It's also written to appeal to female audience. I-personally wouldn't suggest it as a read for adults, but there's nothing in particular to keep adults from enjoying it. [For those suggesting books for younger Tweens I would note that there is some swearing, a tiny bit of drinking used to explain prohibition, and, of course, there are sick people, dying people, ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical
I want to read more books about the Spanish influenza! There are not many, but this came up in a search, so I snagged it. It is the tale of a teenage girl, Cleo Berry, who ends up unexpectedly alone when the Spanish influenza reaches Portland in the fall of 1918 because her brother/guardian cannot get back to the city in a timely fashion. Adrift in life and surrounded by something much bigger than her, Cleo responds to an ad for nurses placed by the Red Cross and finds herself on the front line ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
***I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

Let us review what I knew about the Spanish Influenza before reading this book:

• It was terrible
• The East coast was hit especially hard
• It was one of the worst pandemics in history
• It was spread more than anticipated because of troop movements during WW1

And that’s about it. I had some idea that the Red Cross was involved (GO Red Cross!) but nothing definite.

I know a lot more than that now. The greatest reason that
A horrific and terrifying time in U.S. history comes to life in A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier as hundreds of thousands of U. S. citizens fall to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. From coast to coast people died and heroes rose. One such hero was seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry, from Portland, Oregon, a girl boarding temporarily at her school until the return of her guardians. The residents of the West Coast felt distant from the flu until traveling soldiers bring it home and it spreads like ...more
**My sister Josiphine received this as an arc and let me read it**

So I started this book and I was a little bored. Cleo (the MC) was a little irritating. Most of the beginning Cleo is in school doing nothing... we are all waiting for the actual plot to start.


I persevered through the boredom of the beginning. And than the plot starts to climb. Things are happening the plot is moving along. Finally I am being drawn into the story. (view spoiler)
A fine debut novel that highlights the Spanish Flu of 1918- 1920.The book skims many other topics - Prohibition, WW1, private schools, gender roles, the Red Cross, birth control (Sanger) and new technology. Some of the topics are mentioned in passing and not developed much, but that's okay with me; a teacher could use this to further discuss these issues with students. In fact, the author's development of the flu and its horrific impact is often provided in a short manner. There is no lingering ...more
Disclaimer: if you're not that interested in epidemics and/or pandemics, and prefer them in the backdrop of your story, this is probably not the book for you. I, on the other hand, love them, and I love the 1918 flu pandemic and WWI even more. (Is it weird that I have favorite pandemics? Probably.) Lucier includes so much detail in her portrayal of Cleo's volunteer work and the hospital, and I cherished every moment of it. On top of all that fun, the main character, the supporting characters, an ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing novel!
I loved every minuet of it.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. This book ended up being a lot better than I thought it would be. I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds earlier this year and was very disappointed by it. It was a paranormal romance that just happened to be set during the Spanish Flu epidemic. Then I tried to read As Bright as Heaven and simply could not get into it. Many of the chapters were narrated by young children and I couldn't stand reading about their dolls.

So it was with much trepidation and a decent helping of pessimism that I
Karoline Tyne
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Potential Spoilers!!
This review has some spoilers at the end but I labeled where they pop up.

Cleo Berry is a seventeen year old girl living with her uncle and aunt in Portland, Oregon during 1918. When her aunt and uncle travel for a much needed vacation, Cleo is forced to take residence at her school. Not long after she arrives, the Spanish Influenza presents itself in Portland and Cleo makes the decision to join the Red Cross.

As of lately, I have been on a huge historical fiction kick, so whe
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
2.5 Stars

A Death-Struck Year is the latest in a line of Love-in-the-times-of-epidemic stories. The historical setting is well-researched and put together; the drama that was the times make it an engrossing read.


The author makes a job of 'telling' instead of 'showing'. She mentions in passing Cleo's deep friendships with the girls at school, her run-ins with various people across town etc. Apart from the bond with her brother Jack, I failed to connect with any of the characters. And whe
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
There have been quite a few good books about Spanish Influenza in the last few years, but A Death-Struck Year stands out among them as unusually realistic. Put simply, it is a story about unlikely heroes, regular people who chose to help others when help is most needed, regardless of the danger. A Death-Struck Year is about a teen girl who joins the Red Cross volunteers during the outburst of Spanish Influenza in Portland, despite being far too young to do so. I myself have spent many, many year ...more
Pages For Thoughts
Cleo is such an inspiration to humanity and I pray that there are more girls like her in the world right now. Her passion for helping people and doing the right thing no matter consequence to herself is enormous. I was so nervous for Cleo near the end! There is also surprisingly a lot of depth to Cleo, who ends up dealing with her traumatic past. Besides Cleo, it was the relationships that made this story extraordinary. The friendships and bonds that these volunteers made and the courage they ga ...more
Debbie Narh

I’m conflicted about how I want to review this because of the historical aspect. Most people know about the Spanish Influenza and I think that the author relied heavily on this because there isn’t very much talk about it nor about Cleo’s background. However, it’s a fairly strong novel and I can’t wait to see what Lucier comes out with next.

A Death-Struck Year starts out actually quite boring. I felt myself quickly lose interest and shaking my head saying, “this is why I don’t read historical
Jill Robbertze
Jul 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't at first realize that this was a simple romance really targeting young adults. The story is set against the backdrop of the factual Spanish Flu pandemic that claimed so many lives in the early 20th Century. Sometimes it's nice to read something light and easy-going and for this I enjoyed it. A good debut novel that I think young readers will enjoy.
Kelly Gunderman
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out this, other reviews, and more fun bookish things on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

***Actual Rating: 3.5/5 Stars***

A Death Struck Year was one of those books that I bought ages ago, but kind of just sat on my shelf and never got read until recently. I'm not always big on historical fiction, and I really have to be in the mood for it, because I know there is a lot of stuff to pay attention to. That being said, when I did read A Death Struck Year, it was kind of on
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am definitely not a fan of historical fiction but wow I loved this book. Its about a girl who signs up to volunteer for the Red Cross in Portland, Oregon during the Spanish Influenza epidemic. Her job is to go door to door and distribute information on how to avoid contracting it but if she finds someone sick in their home she has to bring them to the hospital. Her way of dealing with loss and understanding her own role in saving these peoples lives was really interesting and though it was a s ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book that's not for everyone, but it is for me! I like a bit of slower-paced, well-researched historical fiction. I was persuaded to pick this up after I saw Makiia Lucier at a book festival and she talked about all the research she did, down to looking at old street maps and then going to an antiques car show to look at the kind of car Cleo would have driven. So...check this out if you're into that kind of thing!
Josie M.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great piece of historical fiction! I studied the Spanish Influenza in eighth grade science so I that's what prompted me to want to pick up this book. I had an idea of how difficult and deadly the Influenza of 1918 was, but this book (although fiction) brought everything to life that I had already learned. I really enjoyed it! I'm a sucker for anything set in the early to mid 1900s so the year(s) this book was set in (1918) was something I knew I would enjoy right away.
The main character in t
Hannah Claire Dear
I have wanted to read this book for a while. The Spanish flu has seemed interesting because, until COVID, it was seen as the forgotten pandemic. I hadn't even heard of it until season 2 of Downton Abbey.

But this book was a disappointment. It gave what seemed to be a thorough and accurate portrayal of what happened during the spread of the Spanish flu which happens to parallel our current crisis. However, I didn't care about a single character. There was no character development so I didn't real
Ashley Nguyen
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved the book and I can give a number of reasons why.
The book is about a 17 year old girl named Cleo Berry. She is sent to boarding school where she will stay for 5 weeks while her brother and sister-in-law are away for their anniversary. While she is at the school. The Spanish flu spreads to her isolated town in Oregon. Her "safe haven" has become anything but as the Flu quickly spreads and kills. Feeling the need to help the helpless, joins the Red Cross and works her rounds aro
Olivia Hennis
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Spanish influenza is devastating the East Coast—but Cleo Berry knows that’s a world away from the safety of her home of Portland, Oregon. And then the flu moves into the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters are shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode—and into panic.

Seventeen-year-old Cleo is told to stay put in her quarantined boarding school, but when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. In the grueling days that follow he
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Death-Struck Year is an emotional book about a very interesting period of U.S. history.

After recently reading In the Shadow of Blackbirds and seeing that A Death-Struck Year was about the 1918 flu pandemic, I knew I had to read it.

Once again I will remind you that historical fiction is my favorite genre, so my reviews are always biased because of that. But, I just absorbed A Death-Struck Year.

It's a very short book, but powerful. It moves fast (as the flu epidemic did) and slams you hard with
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cleo Berry is a 17-year-old orphan, living under the care of her [much] older brother Jack and his wife Lucy. She goes to an all-girl's school in Portland, Oregon. While Jack and Lucy go off on an anniversary trip, she will be stuck for 6 weeks at the school (some of the students board there), which seems a bit much. Surely she can manage on her own for a few weeks alone?

The Spanish Influenza has been devastating the East Coast, but that's so far away, that no-one is really worried about it. Th
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Makiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a "powerful and disturbing reading experience" by Publishers Weekly, an

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