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A Plague Year

A Plague Year

By: Edward Bloor
Publisher: KNOPF
Publication Date: September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-85681-5
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor 
Review Date: October 2011

Tom Coleman’s dad works very hard as the manager of the Food Mart in town. He always seems to be hustling in and out of the store. One morning his father runs in once again telling Tom he will be right out to take him to school. Tom waits in the van in the parking lot, and decides to use the extra time to study. As he sits there, Bobby Smalls pulls into the parking lot and almost races to the door. Bobby is one of those “perfect workers” who’s dedicated, always on time, and makes the Food Mart his life.

What Tom Coleman doesn’t expect is the truck that pulls in, backs up to the store, and a man exiting the vehicle with a compound bow in his hand. It’s almost as if Tom is suddenly stuck in some ‘big screen’ war movie instead of the normal, everyday life he always lives. But this is no movie; the men in this truck are there to do some serious damage. Without thinking, Tom begins to beep the horn to warn his dad inside the store. Then, he guns the engine of the van and races toward the evil-doers, trying to save both Bobby Smalls and his father from getting killed. Thankfully, he does. But that is nowhere near the end of what is about to take on Tom’s town; there is a plague that is about to begin, and that plague has a name - meth.

Tom Coleman is a boy who seriously just wants a normal life. Get through school, go off to college, and deal with his sister, Lily, who seems to be headed in a much darker direction than she should be going in. Listening to Lily and his mother fight constantly about the counseling program that Mom says she needs to be in because Lily took a hit off a joint, is just one of the events that seems to be happening daily. But normalcy soon turns into a war - in Tom’s own house, as well as outside the walls.

The zombies in this novel are quite different from the ‘fantastical’ creatures that many authors put in their horror or sci-fi stories. These zombies, with their red eyes, rotted teeth, and pasty skin - are creatures who are very real, and some even look like your neighbors and friends. Things are being stolen, odd chemicals are being purchased at the Food Mart, explosions are taking out houses, and people are beating each other to death to get the main ingredient that they have to have in order to survive. There is nothing Tom wants more than to leave his now disgusting town and turn his back on the creatures that are going to eventually tear he and his family apart. But as Tom showed with his first heroic save, he will NOT go quietly. Tom Coleman is prepared to fight this plague until his final day.

Exciting is not really the word to use here. Reality is. This author has brought to all YA’s (and adults) the very real plague that is happening on all of our streets right this second. Although the characters and plot are certainly right on the money, this is definitely not an entertaining ride or a thrills and chills YA novel - THIS is truth.

Quill Says: A good book that is ultimately an educational text that should be used in high schools across the country.

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