Edward William Bloor was born and raised in the working-class neighborhoods of Trenton, New Jersey, an ethnically diverse community. In school, Bloor played soccer and learned not only the intensity of competition but also enlightening lessons on cooperation across ethnic lines. He loved the upbeat sports novels of Clair Bee. After graduating with a B.A. from Fordham University in 1973 and working briefly in Boston and in England, Bloor accepted a position teaching middle-school language arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In 1986, he began work as a language arts textbook editor for Harcourt School Publishers near Orlando. In that capacity, as he evaluated submissions of young-adult novels, he decided to try writing one of his own. He had long been interested in writing—as a child, he had written plays and stories that had been well received by his family and teachers. Bloor began work on what would become his first novel, Tangerine (1997), while commuting to Harcourt. Tangerine would break new ground in young-adult fiction, rejecting the Harry Potter-style fantasy genre and preferring to treat thorny subjects such as school cliques, environmental mismanagement, the pressure of bigotry, and the complex human capacity for mayhem and evil. Such themes led reviewers to describe Bloor’s work as dark, even gothic. Tangerine, however, hailed for its willingness to engage difficult contemporary themes as well as for its complex young-adult characters and multiple plot lines, was selected for numerous best-of-the-year lists of young-adult fiction, including the prestigious American Library Association listing.
Two years later, Bloor released his landmark work, Crusader (1999). Set in a failing family video arcade business in a Fort Lauderdale mall, the work is as much a probing look into the violence of hate crimes and the crooked politics of land development as it is a powerful story of a girl struggling to make peace with the murder of her mother seven years earlier and a difficult estrangement since from her father. Story Time (2004), a wickedly funny, Swiftian satire on public education and specifically the trend of standardized testing, took Bloor’s writing in an entirely new direction. London Calling, a planned Bloor follow-up, involves time travel and draws on the experiences of children in World War II London during the Blitz.
Serious story lines that compel young readers to confront difficult truths have never been the mainstay of young-adult fiction. As a career educator, however, Bloor sees the role of writer as one of coaxing readers toward realizations that, while troubling in their implications, prepare those readers to engage a morally ambiguous world and to triumph over it by dint of an uncompromising commitment to honesty.
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