Mundie Moms

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Published by: Scholastic
Released on: September 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
3 stars: It Was A Good Read

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. -quoted from Goodreads

Set in a dark, post war America, The Eleventh Plague follows the story of 15 year old Stephen who's grown up in a country extremely different from the one we know. Now in ruins, most of the citizens have been killed off by a horrid plague and the ones left are scattered and do what they can to survive in this hellish looking land. In a place that offers little hope, Stephen is taking to a town that offers that and more to him and his ailing father.

What I liked about this story is the way Jeff describes the setting, and the emotions that the characters are feeling. It wasn't hard for me to envision what American must look like, nor was it hard for me to feel the despair Stephen felt, and the glimmer of hope his dad had. The settlement of Settler's Landing is their hope. I loved that in the midst of so much destruction and despair, there's a place that stands out against all that and in it's own way is rebuilding and moving on. They have houses, they grow crops and even go to school, which is far different from what Stephen's been doing to survive. The town's people here are true survivors and instead of falling victim to the death, and destruction around them, they've decided to go about living. I liked how Jeff portrayed that in the story.

What I liked about this story was the dystopian theme, the realistic setting, and the action that happens at the beginning of the book and the very end. I had a hard time with the middle of the story. I didn't feel as connected to the story, I didn't find the romance believable at all, and I was a bit frustrated at how so many town's people fell for the pranks two irresponsible teens played, and the havoc they caused. At the same time, I understand why Stephen and his love interest Jenny felt the way they did. They've grown up in a hell that would make people do crazy things. Together they find the little bit of trust and hope they need in order to survive and cope with all the things they've been through.

I liked the hidden messages Jeff includes through out the story. Even in the midst of chaos, destruction and death, there's a glimmer of hope. Like the people of Settler's Landing, you can either fall victim to it, or keep on surviving. In the end this was a good read for me. There's times through out the story I couldn't help but think "what would I do". If you like a dystopian with a realist feel to it, I'd recommend picking up The Eleventh Plague.

Be sure to enter to win a This Is Teen prize pack which includes a copy of The Eleventh Plague, iBoy and Underdogs here


  1. I've had this on my TBR forever, and haven't gotten around to reading it. I'm a huge fan of dystopias but I'm wary of them lately because of the influx of crappy ones. I'll have to get to this one soon. Thanks for the honest review!

    YA Litwit

  2. My husband really enjoyed this one, but I haven't read it yet.

    Thanks for sharing your review!

  3. Wonderful review! I'm thinking I just might pick this up soon.

    A Cupcake and a Latte: Young Adult Reviews!

  4. Karis- You are so welcome! I hope you enjoy it.

    Tere- Thank you! I'm so glad your husband enjoyed it.

    Mocha- Thank you! I can't wait to read your review of it.

  5. I've heard of this and have been intrigued. Thanks for your honest review.

  6. Natalie- You're so welcome. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

  7. This sounds intense! I love dystopian novels and this sounds to be wonderfully written despite the romance being meh. Excellent review as always! :)

    Xpresso Reads

  8. I agree, this is a dystopian that feels like it could come true. I enjoyed the characters and wished we could have had more with them.

  9. Giselle- Thank you so much!

    Michelle- I really liked the realistic feel to the story. That's what hooked me with it.