Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague
Jeff Hirsch
278 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Scholastic, ARC

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

A disease sent by the Chinese has decimated North America.  Since then, Stephen has been wandering with his family, collecting anything they can find to trade for food, bullets, even socks.  First his mother dies, then his grandfather.  When a freak accident happens to his father, Stephen finds himself in a real town, confused about how they've survived thus far.  When conflict arises, Stephen must choose - continue to wander, or start over.

The Eleventh Plague was the most realistic piece of dystopian fiction that I've ever read.  I got the feeling while reading that this was possible, that this could in fact someday happen to the United States.  It was freaky.  And in that sense, that makes this dystopian different from all the other ones on the market.  I enjoyed Hunger Games, for example, but it occurred to me after the first few chapters that there was no way American Citizens would let the Games happen to themselves.  In The Eleventh Plague, they didn't have that choice.  It happened against their will and as the book says, "Surviving it, that's the real plague."

That's the books main strength - it's uniqueness.  But it also has strengths in great settings, plot, and interesting characters.  It was great to see what Stephen and his dad found as they wandered south and when they arrived at the town, Settler's Landing, I could picture it so clearly.

I gave it four stars because I would have liked to have seen more about what the "plague" itself was like, how it affected the human body.  But seriously guys, you're going to love this book.  It comes out in September, so pre-order your copy, get on a wait list, do something.

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