The Eleventh Plague

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The Eleventh Plague
Author(s)
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
September 01, 2011
ISBN
978-0-545-29014-2
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The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, twenty years later, the world is faced with a choice—rebuild what was or make something new. Stephen Quinn, a quiet and dutiful fifteen-year-old scavenger, travels Post-Collapse America with his Dad and stern ex-Marine Grandfather. They travel light. They keep to themselves. Nothing ever changes. But when his Grandfather passes suddenly and Stephen and his Dad decide to risk it all to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. With his father terribly injured, Stephen is left alone to make his own choices for the first time. Stephen’s choices lead him to Settler's Landing, a lost slice of the Pre-Collapse world where he encounters a seemingly benign world of barbecues, baseball games and days spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Distrustful of such tranquility, Stephen quickly falls in with Jenny Tan, the beautiful town outcast. As his relationship with Jenny grows it brings him into violent conflict with the leaders of Settler's Landing who are determined to remake the world they grew up in, no matter what the cost.

User reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
3.9
Plot
 
4.3(3)
Characters
 
3.3(3)
Writing Style
 
4.0(3)
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Eerie & Captivating
(Updated: May 24, 2012)
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
2.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
I really enjoyed this debut novel by Jeff Hirsch; it was a quick read, but kept me turning the pages as I tried to anticipate's Stephen's next move. I loved Hirsch's references to modern-day establishments (Starbucks, McDonalds), and was fascinated by Stephen's descriptions of how they had fared post Collapse. Hirsch's explanation as to how (and why) a war is started hits disturbingly close to home, and the resulting war (America launching nuclear weapons, China responding with a biochemical attack - an enhanced strain of influenza) is completely probable - which is why reading about it is both so eerie and captivating.

At times, I did forget that Stephen was only fifteen (as some of his actions reflected someone much older), which left me feeling bewildered with some of his more juvenile actions (like the prank which starts the war between Settler's Landing and Fort Leonard), but other then that, I felt he was a very well-rounded and easily relatable character - a teen trying to figure out who he is and what his place is in the world. I cringed when he stole from the Greens, worrying for him and what it would mean if he were to get caught - would they throw him out of the community, would he ruin any chance of having found a stable place to call home - as I genuinely cared about what happened to him.

I liked the relationship between Jenny and Stephen, although the (almost) love-at-first-sight bit was a little far-fetched, and their first kiss had me begging for more. I wish there had been a little more character development for Jenny, as I didn't always understand her (or her motives), or why she was so against being a part of the Green family, which made me find her ungrateful and disrespectful towards the people (and community) who took her in when she was just a baby - to be honest, other then a couple of moments with Stephen, I didn't really like her character.

Overall a good read, but more suited towards a younger audience.
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The Eleventh Plague
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
America is nearly destroyed after a strain of influenza called the eleventh plague deciamtes the country. Hundreds of millions of people die and civilization collaspes in the aftermath of the plague.

15-year old stephen quinn is one of the children born after the eleventh plague. Stephen, his grandfather, and father live their lives as salvager, people who roam areas of the country collecting any items leftover that still may have a use and trading them. After his grandfather dies and his father is injured and falls into a coma after a run-in with slavers, Stephen is left on his own to try to keep him and his father alive. A group of people accidentally stumble upon him and his father and offer to take them to a place that can offer them help, called Settler's Landing.

When Stephen arrives in Settler's Landing he is astonished by the atmosphere there, it is almost as if the people there were never touched by the aftermath of the Eleveth plague:schools are still open, thanksgiving is celebrated, and the people are friendly.

But Stephen soon finds out that all is not perfect in the apaprent paradise of Settler's landing, when he meets Jenny, the misfit,who delights in breaking the rules, starting fights, and getting into trouble. When Stephen and Jenny play a prank that has terrible consequences they must try to fix their mistake before, Settler's Lannding and a Rival Town erupt into all out war.

Elventh Plague is an excellent post-apocalyptical book. It examines how even when America has changed so drastically, old predjudices are retained in the minds of many. At times, especially, during the beginning of the book the pacing is rather slow, and towards the ending it is slightly rushed. Also,the book would have benefited from greater exposition, a broad picture of what America is like is painted for the reader but, more details are needed. Currently there are no plans for a sequel and although the Eleventh plague nicely wraps up Jenny and Stephen's stories, there is still plenty of material left to write about these two charcters and the world they live in.

Age Group: mature 14 year-olds and up

Content: References to slavers taking people and selling them, references to teen and adult characters drinking alcoholic beverages, references to several charcters being injured, curse words bi..., a teen gets drunk, a graphic recount of a mass shooting.

Disclaimer: This book was obtained from YA book central in a giveaway.(less)
Good Points
An excellent post-apocalyptical novel, with realistic reactions from the characters.
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This book deserves to be discussed
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
I do love a good, thought provoking novel. When I picked up The Eleventh Plague, I thought it was going to be a zombie novel. I mentally prepared myself for rotting flesh and gore. Apparently, I misread the synopsis, or else read it when I hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee. This is NOT a zombie book. It is, however, an incredible read.

I knew this was going to be a great book after I finished reading the first page. Jeff Hirsch has a writing style that is unique and refreshing. He’s not a writer; he’s a story teller. His use of descriptive language is amazing. Look how he described his grandfather’s hand, “…it was a desert plain, the tracks of the veins like dry riverbeds winding up the crags of his knuckles.” Talk about descriptive! The whole book is filled with these images that are more than mere words on a page. His words truly paint images in your mind as you read. It’s been a long time since I read something that had that effect on me.

Now, if the title doesn’t offer you a clue, please don’t think this is a cutesy-fluffy read. It’s not. It’s disturbing and down right haunting at times. Could you imagine the world as we know it after a biological warfare attack that left 2/3 of the population dead? What if America (and democracy) as we know it was a distant memory? Or, the military suddenly went from an entity designed to protect to a force of evil? Doesn’t exactly make you think of rainbows and kittens, does it? The thought provoking nature of this book was great! I can’t even begin to talk about it, because it would ruin the book. Someone needs to read this so I can talk about it! This book deserves to be discussed. As a matter of fact, I would love to see it juxtaposed alongside Lord of the Flies. (Yeah, it’s that good.) Man, the discussions that would follow!

So, obviously the plot is incredible, but that’s not the only great thing hidden between these covers. The characters are great. All of them. Even the ones you despise. Everyone is layered and brutally honest (to an extent). Within this small village of Settler’s Landing, you encounter every type of human emotion and the darkest (and best) natures of mankind. Steven and Jenny are complicated. You’re never really sure what’s going with them. It’s obvious there is an attraction between the two, but it’s not just physical. (It’s not very physical at all.) There is a connection. Maybe it’s because they are two outsiders that make the members of this small community nervous. Or maybe, it’s because they are the catalyst for the inevitable change that will come. Every stereotype and fear of the community is illuminated in the eyes of Steven and Jenny. It’s major.

I really hate that I can’t talk about this one in any detail! There are SO many things going on in this book that it deserves to be discussed. If you like Lord of the Flies (I adore it) then you will like this book. I guaranty it. There were moments when I was reading The Eleventh Plague that I was thinking about poor Piggy. But most importantly, Jack’s final thoughts (while he was waiting to be rescued) about his experience on the island and the evil that lurks in the hearts of man resound in this book as well. It’s moving and thought provoking. Actually, it’s downright scary because I can imagine it really happening. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean. People are ugly by nature, and this book shows how vile we can really be.
Good Points
- beautiful descriptive language
- excellent story
- very thought provoking
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