Title: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Publish Date: September 1, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Buy the Book: The Eleventh Plague
Description: 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. 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. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing–and their lives–forever.
Shaunta’s Review: The Eleventh Plauge is one of those books that reminds me why I love the dystopian genre. I loved the main character, Stephen. The author did a great job of depicting the Post Traumatic Stress that can happen with the kind of abuse Stephen and his father took at the hands of Stephen’s grandfather. He doesn’t trust anything good, and that rang true to me.
I loved the character of Jenny as well. A Chinese girl, adopted by a white family and brought up as the only Asian in her community following a devastating US/China war–she’s a sixteen-year-old girl with the face of the enemy. She’s never allowed to forget that. Her rebellion was perfect. The two outcasts drawing together also read very authentic. I rooted for both Stephen and Jenny all the way through, and I loved that they didn’t end up with a neat bow tied around them, but still with hope. This book had just the right amount of romance. I would have loved to have read part of this story from Jenny’s point of view.
Over all, I really enjoyed The Eleventh Plague. The story was compelling and I was able to suspend disbelief when necessary. Hirsch particularly got the human element right, in my opinion. Sometimes kids do things that are really stupid and mean, even if they aren’t stupid or mean when taken on the whole. Sometimes pranks go too far. Disaster does bring out the worst in some people and the best in others, and Hirsch did a great job of illustrating that. He’s also a master of the cliffhanger, leaving off each chapter in a way that made not turning the page nearly impossible.