The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Book Cover The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Book Cover The Eleventh Plague by Jeff HirschTitle: The Eleventh Plague
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Hardcover: 304 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased

Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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.

My Thoughts: Oh, the promises made in the synopsis. I was so full of hope. I mean, it says, right there – “the world is faced with a choice…”  THE WORLD, people.  Of course we know that Stephen Quinn is going to be the main man.  Of course we know that “the world” isn’t going to be a character in this book.  But really, shouldn’t we get some kind of feeling like “the world” is involved? Instead, we’re trapped in this tiny little settlement filled with tiny minds

Now, that said, I do like that Mr. Hirsh explores some tough themes – racism, for one.  I like the idea of his world.  (But…what plague? It didn’t feel very plague-like.) I like where the author was headed, but he just didn’t manage to pull it off with any sort of finesse. Also, while I think Stephen could have been a well rounded character, I truly did not understand some of his choices.  I can’t really say which of them utterly blew me away without spoiling the entire book, but one or two really made my eyes bug out and my brows go up and I had to shake my head and mutter “Huh? What?” a few times.

I really, really wanted to love this.  I feel like the lack of world building (there was SOME, not a lot) and the choppy prose combined with a severe lack of detail and information made this one feel a little flat to me.

Rating: 2 of 5

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