A Death-Struck Year

Written by Makilia Lucier
Review by Ellen Brockmole Jessica Brockmole

A Death-Struck Year is about a girl named Cleo Berry who is seventeen years old. She lives in Portland, Oregon in 1918. That happens to be the time and one of the places where the Spanish Influenza hits. With her brother and sister-in-law in California, her mom and dad dead, and her whole town in chaos, Cleo wishes her brother was there more than ever before. Cleo then runs away from her boarding school and she decides to do something she never thought she would do.

I thought this book was fabulously written. It is a story full of suspense, twists, and mysterious pasts. It is very realistic, too. Cleo is a normal girl who lives life like every other person. I think A Death-Struck Year is one of my favorite books I’ve read.

Ellen Brockmole, age 11


Seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry, orphaned and raised by her older brother, feels that she will never be more than ordinary. But when the Spanish flu epidemic hits Portland in 1918, Cleo impulsively runs away from her privileged boarding school and answers a call from the Red Cross looking for volunteers to visit the homebound and “unattended.” At a makeshift hospital at the Public Auditorium, she meets people like Edmund, a young medical student and ex-soldier, working tirelessly to fight the epidemic. Though afraid of contagion, Cleo can’t bear the thought of anyone waiting sick and alone, and summons up a courage she didn’t know she had. A moving, immersive story about one girl’s search for her own sense of extraordinary.

Jessica Brockmole