Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Title: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch site
Format: Audiobook, 6 discs
Narrator: Dan Bittner
Published: 8/01/2011
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Source: eMedia Library

“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.”

Basic Synopsis:
His mother is long dead and he’s just buried his grandfather when his father gets into an accident and falls into a coma. Now that Stephen is on his own he has no one to follow. Who will Stephen be? Will he follow in his grandfathers footsteps and leave everyone behind, survival his only agenda? Or will he be more like his mother and father and be more than the world would make him?

Stephen is really a boy lost. He has always followed others and hasn’t ever had to decide things for himself. He’s trying to find out who he really is. What kind of person he wants to be, and what paths he will take. Stephen is a very admirable character. I feel like he starts from scratch, without a formed personality and decides on his own to be a good person. To help others, and to be loyal to the ones he loves. And also to, eventually, own up to his responsibilities.

Jenny is lovably stubborn. She never holds back and refuses to just stay safe on the side lines. I loved that she’s no one’s damsel in distress. She stands up for herself and whatever she feels is right, never pushed around by anyone. I liked that she was so kick ass without being arrogant.

Plot and Story:
Something that I think is very unique about The Eleventh Plague is that it isn’t just a post-apocalyptic YA novel. The post-apocalyptic element isn’t the main part of the story. It really should be categorized as a coming of age story.
One of the reasons I love this book so much is because I agree with everything the author is trying to convey. And this story says a lot. For a book under 300 pages it speaks volumes. Something that may turn off some readers is that the pace of the book is kind of on the slow side. Usually that is something I would complain about, but the rest of the book is so good it didn’t bother me at all.

Do you ever read a book and really liked it, and then a lot of time passes and you think back on the book and doubt it was as good as you thought it was? I started having these doubts after a few books I’d thought I’d loved had their unfortunately obvious flaws pointed out to me by other bloggers/friends. (None that I’ve reviewed though) I’m happy to say that rereading this book I regained some faith in my book critiquing abilities. (I’d originally read the ARC in August 2011) I loved The Eleventh Plague just as much, if not more than before! I give it 5 of 5 stars, and if you haven’t read it yet you should definitely give it a try!

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