Books by Edward Bloor

A PLAGUE YEAR by Edward Bloor
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

Freshman Tom Coleman studies for the PSAT, works for free at the Food Giant his dad runs and plays Nintendo in this rural Pennsylvania town in the fall of 2001, when terrorists and methamphetamine suddenly become big threats. Read full book review >
TAKEN by Edward Bloor
Released: Oct. 9, 2007

The white, elite segment of the population hide behind tall gates while everyone else lives in poverty—and a cottage industry based on kidnapping and ransom demands has become so prevalent that middle-schoolers write papers about it. Charity is one of the privileged few, and when she is kidnapped, she knows exactly how to behave: Be polite, talk to your captors and hope your parents pay up. Interwoven scenes flash back and reveal just how empty her life has been. But Charity's kidnapping is not what it appears; her father has created an elaborate illusion to break them free of their confines and create a new life. Filled with unsubtle commentary about race and wealth, this still manages to be genuinely exciting although astute readers will see the twist early on. Charity's self-possession strains credibility, as does her quick turnaround at the novel's end, but this is competent near-future fiction. (Science fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
LONDON CALLING by Edward Bloor
Released: Sept. 26, 2006

John hates All Souls Preparatory School, where he's tormented by Hank Lowery, great-grandson of General "Hollerin' Hank" Lowery, a WWII hero. Or was he? John's older sister, revising the article on Lowery for her job at an encyclopedia, suspects otherwise. John holds the answer—in a radio bequeathed to him by his grandmother that turns out to be a time-travel device that takes him to the home of a boy named Jimmy in 1940s London. With Jimmy, John observes Lowery at the U.S. Embassy, during the events that precede and follow Jimmy's death. Then he can answer the question Jimmy puts to him: "What did you do to help?" Helping involves a lot of research on Lowery and the Blitz, and a trip to London to find Jimmy's aging father. Sound complicated and unwieldy? Just add overtones of religion (Is Jimmy an angel? What does God want of John?) and alcoholism (John's father) and you've got an ungainly mess. The history and ethics are fascinating but are treated to a shallow ending, and though the characters are compelling, the dropped threads will make readers tune out. (Fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
STORY TIME by Edward Bloor
Released: April 1, 2004

George and Kate Melvil have won acceptance to Whittaker Magnet School, where they will be exposed to the finest teaching methods in the US and subjected to a test-based, "Leave No High-Scoring Child Behind" program. Classes take place in windowless rooms in the basement, where Kate and her fellow students, the "Mushroom Children," drink protein shakes and use treadmills to stay in shape for the standardized tests taken every day in every class. Students memorize the prefectures of Japan and GRE vocabulary words, and children's books are read at Story Time for the phonics lessons they inspire. Kate hates the school and wants nothing more than to be at her old school, singing and acting in the upcoming production of Peter Pan. Adults will relish this wild satire on modern education; young readers will enjoy the horror-story trappings of ghosts, bizarre occurrences, demonic possession, and the big, dark school that looks like Dracula's castle. A creation with wide appeal. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
CRUSADER by Edward Bloor
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

A stagnant shopping mall in South Florida is a crowded center stage for this large-canvas story from Bloor (Tangerine, 1997), who weaves labyrinthine plot strands, from politics and the power of the media to alienation and personal redemption, while an exploration of racism hovers in the background. Smart, Seuss-spouting Roberta, 15, is capable and knowing beyond her years, raising herself on boxes of macaroni, neglected by a father whose presence is primarily the stack of rented videos he leaves for her on the counter. Her only family is the drunken uncle (in fact, most of the adults are bad guys, drunks, liars—even murderers) she works for at the failing virtual reality video arcade, and his troubled children. As the story unfolds, remarkably resilient Roberta comes closer to solving the riddle of her mother's murder seven years ago; the solution hits close to home, and is only one among plot strands vying for attention as Roberta schools herself to become a reporter, conducts her own surveillance of local hate crimes, faces the death of a friend and an elderly guardian, saves the mall from bankruptcy, and inherits a Hallmark store. Roberta's transformation from androgenous geek to self-sufficient, truth-seeking heroine is believable throughout, and, despite an overdose of detail, readers will be patient with a cast of characters for whom a bout of chicken pox is revelatory and a near-death in a freezer is life-affirming. Roberta emerges from her war a contemporary crusader, strong and whole and sure. (Fiction. 13-15) Read full book review >
TANGERINE by Edward Bloor
Released: April 1, 1997

A legally blind seventh-grader with clearer vision than most wins acceptance in a new Florida school as his football-hero older brother self-destructs in this absorbing, multi-stranded debut. Paul's thick lenses don't keep him from being a first-rate soccer goalie, but they do make him, willy-nilly, a "handicapped" student and thus, according to his new coach, ineligible to play. After a giant sinkhole swallows much of his ramshackle school, Paul is able to transfer to another school where, with some parental collusion, he can keep his legal status a secret. It turns out to be a rough place, where "minorities are in the majority," but Paul fits himself in, playing on the superb soccer team (as a substitute for one of the female stars of the group) and pitching in when a freeze threatens the citrus groves. Bloor fills in the setting with authority and broad irony: In Tangerine County, Florida, groves are being replaced by poorly designed housing developments through which drift clouds of mosquitoes and smoke from unquenchable "muck fires." Football is so big that not even the death of a player struck by lightning during practice gets in the way of NFL dreams; no one, including Paul's parents, sees how vicious and amoral his brother, Erik, is off the field. Smart, adaptable, and anchored by a strong sense of self-worth, Paul makes a memorable protagonist in a cast of vividly drawn characters; multiple yet taut plotlines lead to a series of gripping climaxes and revelations. Readers are going to want more from this author. (Fiction. 11-15) Read full book review >