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A Death-Struck Year

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  831 ratings  ·  231 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
*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
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
Feb 19, 2015 Aditi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All the historical-fiction readers. And those like me who are fascinated by the Spanish Flu.
Recommended to Aditi by: Heidi
Warning : Please clear your planners and schedulers of all things when starting A Death-Struck Year. This so because for the entire length of the book you will be living in influenza hit 1918 and will be unable to come out of the story even if you tried. Thank you.

Full review, on its way.
Pamela ☼stop staring at the sun☼ Tee
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
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 lingered b
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
I was approved for this from netgalley and my copy will not open...I'm crying. I so wanted to read this!!! artgghgghghghghgh
***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
**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)
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
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
Abbe "The Awesome Senior" Hinder

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 fi
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 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
Sara B.
Although I'm not normally interested in historical fiction, this book caught my eye. Set in the early nineteen-hundreds, when the Spanish Influenza is ravaging the countryside, Cleo finds herself alone in the midst of this horrifying crisis, and decides to join the Red Cross and help out. On only her first day on the job, she finds a sick family, and falls headfirst into weeks of knocking on doors and discovering families torn apart by the flu. Cleo is awaiting the return of her brother and his ...more
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
I was initially intrigued by this book because of the fact that it takes place in 1918 – right when Spanish Influenza was sweeping across the world, leaving thousands dead in every city.

Cleo Berry is an interesting main character. She is in no way a damsel in distress; she is actually quite the opposite. When her school is shut down due to the epidemic and her brother/guardian is on vacation, Cleo spins a tale too her school and family that allows her to stay home…alone. This is totally unheard
Josie M.
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
Emily (Falling for YA)
A Death-Struck Year combines two of my favorite things, 1. Portland, Oregon 2. The Spanish Influenza. I went to undergrad in Portland so the city holds a special place in my heart. I love reading books that take me back there. I also have a strange obsession with the Spanish influenza. It’s fascinating that a flu swept across the globe, killed a huge portion of the population, and no one knows the cause. There is also the possibility that the same thing could happen again.

I liked Cleo Berry, the
I hate to admit this, but A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier has made me regret those days where I wished for the flu so I could be out of work for a couple of days without touching my vacation time — I always have this cushion of sick time. Lucier’s debut has made me realize that actually the flu is serious and kind of scary, it’s not just a get out of work free card. You see, I was initially drawn to A Death-Struck Year because it’s about a disease that spreads really fast, kind of like a pl ...more
Ashley Nguyen
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
Margo Tanenbaum
A Death-Struck Year is an excellent historical novel for teens from debut author Makiia Lucier about the 1918 flu epidemic, which continues to fascinate and frighten into the 21st century. As the novel opens, we meet Cleo, a 17-year old orphan who's being raised by her older brother and his wife. She's a student at a ritzy girls' boarding school in Portland when the flu epidemic begins in the United States, but despite the dire news reports about the epidemic striking East Coast cities, she feel ...more
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have to admit this is not one I would have picked on my own. I don’t make it a habit to pick up historical fiction novels. The only times I have done so is when a friend practically shoved the book in my arms. However as I was reading this I was quickly captivated by the plot and the characters. This novel also is great at educating its readers. I knew about the Spanish Flu but it never occurred to me to think of people’s reactions, the panic, and things bei ...more
A very well-written, accessible account of the horrors of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, as seen by a 17-year old girl. Right from the beginning I connected with Cleo, as she struggled to figure out her calling in life when all her friends seemed to have everything under control.

Life was completely normal for her, in fact, until the disease reached a nearby military base. Then everything started to become locked down, anything to prevent the spread of the disease that incapacitated and killed so
"Good morning. I'm with the Red Cross. My name is Cleo Berry. We're in your neighborhood today distributing information on the Spanish Influenza and handing out face masks for your household."

I had no idea. Born and raised in Oregon, you never think of the Spanish Flu and how it hit the west coast. I read about all over the world, but never specifically my home town and how it was affected. Shutting down schools and canceling all events.

it was so inspiring to read about the few that really rose
Alyssa Sedacca
The book, A Death Struck Year, was amazingly suspenseful and intriguing. It kept me on the edge of my seat and never failed to pull me into the story every time I opened the book. The characters were brilliantly described and I had a good time learning about their individual lives as if they were my own friends. Cleo, the main character, was easy to connect with, as she was a rebellious teenage girl. I found myself concerned for her wellbeing and it was hard to predict what she would be doing ne ...more
Jess at Such a Novel Idea
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Last year I said I wasn't a fan of historical fiction. It was more so that I just didn't happen to pick up many HF books. Since then, I've made it a point to do so, and it is one reason I was interested in this book.

The book focuses on a real event - the year is 1918 in Portland, Oregon and the event is the Spanish Influenza. (If you are a fan of Twilight, this is the event that killed Edward's family and almost him). Our protagonist is a sev
Mrs. Porter
Well-researched, well-paced story set against the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918. Cleo is a strong, smart and compassionate girl. I had trouble putting this down.
[Actual rating closer to 3.75]

As I recently tweeted, I think I’ve reached the point of no return as it pertains to HMH’s historical fiction. If I find a book with the HMH brand and it’s set in the past (ANYWHERE in the past), I’m going to pick it up. Not only are the stories themselves usually pretty good, but the writing is always solid, and the historical accuracy and vividness presented is stellar. To my absolute delight, A Death-Struck Year is no exception.

I find it especially interesting to read historical fiction based on events that are not particularly well-known or mentioned in great detail in history texts - the devastating worldwide Spanish flu epidemic in 1918 falls into that category and is the backdrop for this story. Seventeen-year-old Cleo's boarding school in Portland, Oregon is closed because of the epidemic, her family is away and as a result she finds herself alone in their city home. When she hears that the Red Cross needs volunte ...more
BAYA Librarian
Cleo Berry isn’t concerned about the Spanish influenza. Sure it is spreading all over the east coast but that is another world when you live clear across the country in Portland, Oregon. That is until the flu picks up steam and makes its way to the west coast closing schools, government buildings, churches, and anywhere else the public might gather. Cleo, who is temporarily boarding at her private school while her brother is away on business, feels completely abandoned when her school is quarant ...more
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Makiia Lucier grew up on the Pacific island of Guam, not too far from the equator. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master's in library studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied literature for children. She's had plenty of jobs, mostly in libraries, and currently resides in the small college town of Moscow, Idaho.
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“What I would give right now, to feel nothing.” 7 likes
“The rain came before I'd gone a block. A few drops at first, and then a downpour. I didn't turn back. I tipped my face to the sky. Welcomed the coolness on my skin. In this world of mine, it was the rain, it was the rain alone, that made sense.” 4 likes
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