The Eleventh Plague

Jeff Hirsch, Author
Jeff Hirsch. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-29014-2
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-545-38809-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-35396-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-35404-2
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-545-29015-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61657-768-1
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-545-42215-4
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Although it relies on some increasingly common dystopian tropes, Hirsch's debut novel is an impressive story with strong characters. A generation after China released a weaponized plague on the U.S., the nation is in ruins, and 15-year-old Stephen wanders the country as a scavenger. Shortly after Stephen's grandfather dies, his father has an accident crossing a river and is incapacitated. Stephen finds himself at the small village of Settler's Landing, where a group of survivors have created an isolated haven of sorts, a far cry from the life Stephen is used to. While there, he meets Jenny, a girl of Chinese descent who is ostracized because of her race. Even as Stephen worries about his father's fate (and his own), he begins to fall for Jenny, and they are both drawn into the horrors of their world, sometimes through their own miscalculated actions. Hirsch delivers a tight, well-crafted story, and although the world-building is light on detail regarding the global cataclysm and its aftermath, most readers will be able to accept the hand-waving and enjoy the action and danger. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
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