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232 Pages • 5.25 x 7.5

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Ages: 9-14

Reading Levels

Guided Reading Level: Z+

Yesterday's Dead

by: Pat Bourke

Meredith struggles to cope during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918...

Thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher but must leave school to help support her family. To find the best paying job for a young girl of her class, she travels to the city to work as household help in a doctor’s home. From the start, her life is made difficult by the cantankerous and prickly butler, and confrontations with Maggie, the doctor’s spoiled thirteen-year-old daughter.
As the deadly Spanish Flu sweeps across the city, members of the household fall ill one by one. With the doctor working night and day at the hospital, only Meredith, Maggie, and Jack, Maggie's handsome older brother, are left to care for them. Every day the newspapers’ lists of “Yesterday’s Dead” add to Meredith’s growing fears.

When Jack becomes gravely ill, Meredith must stop fighting with Maggie so they can work together to save him. As Meredith wrestles with questions of duty and responsibility, she opens the door to a future that she thought had been closed forever.
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  • "A gripping depiction of a tragic epidemic and the sometimes heroic responses of those affected." - Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2012

  • "Pat Bourke has crafted a fantastically detailed novel that would satisfy any young reader’s desire to find out about the past." - Canadian Children's Book News, Winter 2013

  • "Bourke ultimately brings home the vital message: in disease, all social classes are rendered equal." - Booklist, April 4, 2012

  • "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. ... Yesterday’s Dead is 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, January 1, 2012

  • "Meredith is a likable character - young, intelligent, outspoken, caught in a negative situation, but not too rebellious. She suits both the time period and the readers' expectations of her behavior. Pat Bourke makes real to younger readers the terror of being struck with an epidemic little understood by the public at the time." - Susie Bookworm, March 12, 2012

  • "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." - Silver's Reviews, March 20, 2012

  • "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." - CM Magazine, January 20, 2012

  • "This book was an amazing read, and I knew right after our librarian, Ms. Kubiw, had explained it to us, that it would be the first one I read and probably the one I would most enjoy. Thank you so much for writing this awesome book, and I sincerely hope there will be a series or more books to come like this. Sincerely, Grace D. Age 12" - CanLit for Little Canadians blog, May 2, 2014


Reading Levels

Guided Reading Level: Z+

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