A Plague Year
by Edward Bloor
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 305 pgs. Young Adult
Tom Coleman starts a diary at the beginning of his ninth grade year in the fall of 2001 and chronicles the descent of the plague of methamphetamine onto his small, Pennsylvania town. It begins with unexplained thefts of cold medicine and cleaning supplies from the grocery store his father runs and ends up affecting his everyone in his family and his friends.
Edward Bloor has crammed a lot into this book: class issues, drug problems, the economics of small town life, family dysfunction, and the events of September 11th. Tom is an engaging narrator, though sometimes a bit unreliable and naïve, and I thought his telling of the story was quite compelling. Some elements of the plot and some of the characters less well-developed than others, but that could also be due to the fact that the story is told through Tom’s journal rather than a more omniscient narrator. If you have enjoyed Edward Bloor’s other books you will like this one as well.