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A Death-Struck Year

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,365 Ratings  ·  316 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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Beverly Ng
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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
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
Dec 28, 2013 Heidi 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
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ 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
Dec 03, 2013 Josiphine 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
**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)
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
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
Dec 28, 2013 Aoi 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
Abbe 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 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
Jill Robbertze
Jul 25, 2015 Jill Robbertze 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.
Ena Tintentick
Rezi auf
In gewohnt hochwertiger Aufmachung kommt dieses Buch daher. Das rosa-graue Cover mit der wiederholt dargestellten Krankenschwester fällt definitiv auf. Obwohl es doch sehr speziell ist, passt es hervorragend zu diesem historischen Jugendbuch. Zudem finde ich auch den deutschen Buchtitel "Das Fieber" viel ansprechender als den englischen "Death-Struck Year".

"Das Fieber" ist ein Buch über die verheerende Pandemie im 20. Jahrhundert, die so viele Menschen das Leben kostete
Bitchin' Reads
Feb 07, 2017 Bitchin' Reads 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!
Feb 20, 2017 Marisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shh, tbr-2016
Well done historical fiction for a YA audience about the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, set in Portland. Quick and engaging plot.
May 17, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
Nachdem ihre Eltern sehr früh gestorben sind, lebt Cleo, 17 Jahre alt, bei ihrem viel älteren Bruder Jack und seiner Frau Lucy. Als diese zur Feier ihres Hochzeitstages eine längere Reise unternehmen wollen, muss sie für ein paar Wochen im Internat wohnen. Dort wird sie noch mehr mit der bitteren Wahrheit konfrontiert, dass sie im Gegensatz zu ihren Freundinnen überhaupt noch keine Ahnung hat, was sie nach der Schule machen soll. Doch bald werden diese Überlegungen vollkommen verdrängt, denn die ...more
Josie M.
Sep 15, 2014 Josie M. 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
Ashley Nguyen
Apr 17, 2014 Ashley Nguyen 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
Mar 03, 2014 Annette 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
Olivia Hennis
Jan 20, 2014 Olivia Hennis 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
Sep 25, 2014 Linnae 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
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
Dec 04, 2013 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
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
Sep 27, 2013 Hilary rated it it was amazing
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
Sara B.
Nov 29, 2014 Sara B. rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 27, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 19, 2016 Timecoincidence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ive known this book for a while and it has been up on my TBR shelf for a while. And clearly
it has lived up to its expectation.

First of all, I didn't know a thing about Spanish influenza.
I mean, I knew that it was kind of a big thing in the 1918,but I didn't really know any of the actual facts. So, this book teaches me a lot of things and I have learned a lot from it.

Secondly,I have enjoyed the plot. It was of a serious topic and it told many stories involving the death of people, but the fa
Jan 18, 2014 April rated it it was amazing
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
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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.
More about Makiia Lucier...

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“What I would give right now, to feel nothing.” 8 likes
“I’m not afraid of these ghosts, Cleo. I have enough of my own to keep me company.” 5 likes
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