The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

8:00 AM

Title: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Release Date: September 1, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 288
Source: ARC won thanks to Scholastic Canada and Indigo Events

Overall: 4 Stars

In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving. 

In the aftermath of a war, America's landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen's grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler's Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank on the town bully's family that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler's Landing forever. 

My Thoughts: 
It was the more realistic nature of The Eleventh Plague that really drew in my interest to read the novel... a fact which also kind of frightened me. While I had been thinking that the novel was a dystopian one, I still think it leans more to being a post-apocalyptic one. Not that it matters though because, in any case, I really enjoyed reading The Eleventh Plague!

Fifteen year-old Stephen has lived his entire life with his family as a salvager, wandering about America in search of objects from the past that would have worth now in exchange for the necessary essentials they require to survive. It has its challenges, but it's the only lifestyle he's ever known. When circumstances bring him to Settler's Landing, Stephen finds himself within a small community unlike anything he's ever seen before, where people live in comfortable homes, children attend school, and food isn't a struggle to find. What we take for granted in our own daily lives today is shocking and almost unfathomable to Stephen!

Out of the darkness strikes a ray of light for Stephen, as he's given an opportunity to finally have a home... and a chance to dream about his future. Jeff Hirsch did an excellent job describing Settler's Landing and how the community worked together as their own little society... but also showing how precarious their peace was as well. And just like Stephen, I was also rather initially skeptical of the kindness which Marcus and his family showed him when he was still practically a complete stranger. In a selfish and dark world like Stephen's, the positive qualities of human beings aren't exactly at their best... not when it seems like it's every man for himself. It was wonderful seeing Stephen grow as a character as he learned from his new friends how to be a better person.

Jeff Hirsch's debut novel, The Eleventh Plague, is a hauntingly accurate portrayal of what life could one day would become. Family, love and friendship are put to the test in the face of adversity in this post-apocalyptic novel that will be sure to leave your heart pounding by the end!

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  1. Wonderful review, Liz! I'm hoping to pick up a copy today. Cross your fingers that my local store has copies (goes online to check).