Book Review: The Eleventh Plague

Book Review: The Eleventh PlagueThe Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
Published by Scholastic Press on September 1st 2011
Pages: 278

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.

First Impression: I had been meaning to read this book for a long time for I love a good post-apocalyptic story. This past summer it was a free audio download on AudioSync and I finally put it on my iPhone to listen to. I really liked the narrator and found myself finding excuses to clean or workout so I could listen to it.

While Listening: I was pulled into the story from the beginning. Stephen, his grandfather, and his father are salvagers, trying to make a living by trading what materials they find. An unfortunate turn of events finds his grandfather dead and his own father in a coma, but taken in by a small, close-knit community that does not like Stephen just because he is an outsider. There he meets Jenny, a defiant teen girl who seems to cause more trouble than necessary. But there's more going on in this community, something that may cause them to pull apart and Stephen finds himself in danger. 
I really liked Stephen, whose viewpoint it is told from. He has a bit of his grandfather's stubbornness implanted in him and he cares deeply for his father. Jenny is definitely a more wild girl, who is stubborn in her own way, but causes lots of trouble. Stephen is drawn to her though and together they have to face many challenges as Settler's Landing becomes a not-so-welcome place for the pair.
Final Verdict: Overall, it was a solid novel, with a decent ending that leaves it open to more, but enough closure to keep it a single novel. I loved the action and budding relationships. The audio was well-done and definitely fit Stephen's character well.

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