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Yesterday's Dead Paperback – April 1, 2012
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"The story's pacing is pitch-perfect, and Bourke advances the plot at just the right clip. She uses dialogue to great advantage, both as a tool for defining her characters and for introducing different opinions on the epidemic...A well-written story with an engaging protagonist. Both witness and survivor, Meredith pulls readers through the crisis and touches the lives of everyone around her. Bourke does a great job of calling attention to a brief but important moment in history." (Quill & Quire 2012-01-01)
"Bourke quietly conveys the impact of the Great War and the Spanish flu on our then fledgling country of just over 8 million people. Many of our ancestors were scarred by these tragedies. Yet the historical elements never overwhelm the human story of Meredith and her friends. Realistic dialogue, skilled pacing and evocative detail bring them to life and make the reader sorry when the novel ends. Yesterday's Dead truly deserves praise and prizes. Highly Recommended." (CM Magazine 2012-01-20)
"Meredith's very human fluctuations between despair and determination in the face of tragedy add considerably to the authenticity of her character. A gripping depiction of a tragic epidemic and the sometimes heroic responses of those affected." (Kirkus Reviews 2012-03-15)
"A quick, highly informative historical read, perfect for its intended audience and for others of us as well." (Susie Bookworm blog 2012-03-12)
"The main characters are finely drawn, especially Meredith...The story vividly depicts the family's fear and the victims' suffering." (School Library Journal 2012-04-01)
"The story is well-crafted, leaves readers wanting to know more about this awful disease, and has readers empathizing for the plight of, and ultimately the extraordinary leadership skills of, Meredith...This is a good readalike for those interested in Lois Lowry's Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918." (VOYA 2012-06-01)
"This well-written and perfectly paced novel will keep readers thoroughly engaged as they feel as if they are right there along with Meredith." (Resource Links 2012-04-01)
A young girl's struggle to do what's right during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
Top customer reviews
However, thirteen-year-old Meredith is preoccupied with her own problems. Though she dreams of becoming a teacher, the girl is working as a servant for Doctor Waterton and his motherless family. She assists the cook and butler, and minds Harry, the youngest son, who is as mischievous a lad as any who ever stole from the sugar bowl. Imperious Maggie is a few years older than Meredith, and is a demanding mistress. Fortunately, the new maid finds a friend in Maggie's fifteen-year-old brother, Jack.
Then the flu strikes Toronto. Dr. Waterton goes to the hospital to tend the first patients, but never comes home. He sends word that he cannot be spared - not even when young Harry takes ill. Then the cook collapses, followed by the butler. The Waterton house is virtually cut off from the world. Meredith turns inexperienced hands to nursing and seeks Jack and Maggie's help in saving the sick.
Pat Bourke's debut YA historical novel, "Yesterday's Dead," plunges us into the desperate straits of families caught up in the epidemic. Ms. Bourke also explores the everyday struggles of working girls like Meredith. The epidemic tests Meredith's resolve, and also her ability to forge bonds with her reluctant helpers. Younger teenage girls should particularly enjoy Meredith's story and her ultimate triumph over adversity that most of us can only imagine.
-- Jo Ann Butler
Dr. Waterton was a kind person even with all the stress he was under with his children to raise since wife had died and the Spanish Flu to contend with.
Since Meredith had to make a good impression on the Watertons, she did her utmost to make everything work out as best as she could, especially when everyone began to fall ill from the Spanish flu. Meredith is the main character, and you will love her, her strength, her level-headedness, and her sweetness.
Even though I normally do not read YA books, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I always enjoy books set in the early 1900's and am always amazed how people cooked in stoves that were powered by coal. I also enjoy the setup of the households of the wealthy in terms of how many servants they had and how they were treated and how the servants treated each other.
This is a book for those who love historical fiction and have a love of the life Americans, Canadians, and Europeans lived before all our conveniences and medicines. It actually is frightening in terms of illnesses with no antibiotics to cure anyone. Wonder if antibiotics would have had any effect in this strain of the flu?
Enjoy the book....I certainly did and benefited from the history lesson. I definitely enjoyed the interaction among the characters. This would make a great discussion in a classroom in terms of how today's youth would feel about the way the characters reacted to each other and how illnesses are treated differently today. In fact, there would be many topics for interesting group discussions. 5/5
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