Yesterday's Dead

  • Pages:232
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:Spanish flu, influenza, epidemic, Canadian history
  • Available:04/16/2012
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 9-12
It is the end of the First World War, and thirteen-year-old Meredith yearns to become a teacher. But she must leave school to help support her family, moving to the city to work as a maid in a wealthy doctor's home. 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 and the doctor's children, Maggie and Jack, 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.
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
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
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
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
A survival story located not on a snowy mountain but in a lavish house
– Booklist Online
The main characters are finely drawn, especially Meredith, who chafes at being treated as a servant, and Maggie, who is the epitome of a pampered, self-centered young teen.
– School LIbrary Journal
This well-written and perfectly paced novel will keep readers thoroughly engaged as they feel they are right there along with Meredith as the household falls sick one by one.
– Resource Links
Meredith is the perfect vessel to tell this story as in many way's she's a normal girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Her common sense and determination help her to persevere through the epidemic and make her a very likable character.
– Resource Links
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.
It's refreshing to read a novel with a Canadian perspective on such a major historical event. A great debut novel for author Pat Bourke.
– LibrisNotes
A gripping depiction of a tragic epidemic and the sometimes heroic responses of those affected.
– Kirkus Reviews
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
It’s a gift from an author when a reader can experience writing that helps increase one’s understanding of a time of war, a time when very young women worked, and a time when Canadians were being tested by an invisible and lethal invader.
– Canadian Children's Book News
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
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People   | 2013  |  Short-listed
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award   | 2014  |  Short-listed
IODE Violet Downey Book Award   | 2013  |  Short-listed
Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award   | 2014  |  Short-listed
Snow Willow Award Finalist (Saskatchewan's Young Readers Choice Awards)   | 2014  |  Short-listed
Canadian Children's Book Centre's "Best Books for Kids and Teens" - Fall 2012   | 2012  |  Commended