Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Title:  The Eleventh Plague
Author:  Jeff Hirsch
Series:  n/a
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Publication Date:  September 1, 2011
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads
Rating:  Photobucket

From Goodreads:

“With its crumbling Starbucks and rusting theme parks, The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home, vividly depicting a world that has nose-dived into a futuristic nightmare. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn struggles to define his rules of survival in Jeff Hirsch’s excellent, taut debut novel.” — Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

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 that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

I was excited to read this debut novel from Jeff Hirsch, especially after word got out that Suzanne Collins had blurbed it, saying, "The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home...An excellent, taut debut novel." Dystopians are all the rage right now, but I wanted to read something different, and this book provides just that.

First off, I enjoy a good male protagonist. After reading so many dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels, one begins to wonder, are young women the only ones who will stay strong in the face of adversity? That's obviously not going to be the case when things do take a turn for the worse, so it was nice to have a strong male lead in young Stephen Quinn.

The world the author has created is surreal but entirely plausible. The aftermath of a war between North America and China was a flu-like pandemic that eradicated a good percentage of North America's population and left the survivors with nothing. The country is a wasteland, there are those who would push the survivors into slavery, and no one is safe. But when Stephen is left on his own, he discovers a community that has some semblance of what the world was like before the war.

I think the thing that made this novel so realistic to me was that the kids were still kids, at least in Settler's Landing. The children in the village still attend school, still play baseball, still pull pranks on each other. I think when faced with such hardships, human beings will always fall back on what they're accustomed to. And since the adults in this novel were all young adults themselves when the plague hit, they want their children to have that same sense of normalcy, no matter how short-lived it may be.

Kudos to Mr. Hirsch. I don't like to envision that our great nation could end up torn asunder in the manner of his book, but I'm glad to think that if it does, we'll still all be red-blooded Americans at heart if it comes to that.

*I won a signed ARC of this novel from the author on*

Next up for review:  In the Arms of Stone Angels


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...