What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague was first brought to my attention a few weeks before I attended a young adult book festival hosted near my home, called YAK Fest. I always look up the books of authors who are attending book events that I'm going to! The summary I found for The Eleventh Plague sounded really interesting, so I decided to pick up a copy while I was there.
Here's the summary 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.

What I Liked: 1) Stephen. Stephen has had to face a lot in his life and as a result, he's become very strong, but also very wary and untrusting. But what I really liked was watching him slowly change over the course of the book, learning what he was really looking for, and starting to trust the new people in his life. 2) Jenny. Honestly, I wasn't sure about this girl for a while. She was kind of closed off, a little like Stephen, so it was hard to get to know her at first. But then I learned a bit more about her and started to understand a bit more about why she was...the way she was, I guess would be the best way to say it. She's a major influence on Stephen, and changes the outcome of the story. 3) Emotional turmoil. I can always tell a book is really good when I experience a range of emotion while reading. There were tears, happiness, satisfaction, a lot of different emotions that all went into this book. 4) At the end of the book, you have to realize that there was this message that no matter what happens, people try to rebuild and reclaim the life that they always want. Among the many things to take away from this book, I think that was my favorite.

What I Didn't Like: Do you remember when you first learned to drive a car? Was there a lot of stopping and starting as you got used to the amount of pressure needed to brake or drive? I felt like there was a little bit of that going on with The Eleventh Plague. Not stopping and starting, but hurry up and slow down. In future books by Jeff Hirsch, I'd hope to see a more even pace for the book.

Overall thoughts: The Eleventh Plague is a great debut with some very real characters, and a plot line that will keep you guessing. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction without the dystopian slant that so many seem to have these days, add The Eleventh Plague to your TBR list!

My rating: 3.5 shots


  1. Another post apocalypse dystopian. I just finished Pure. I enjoy them but sometimes the hoplessness gets to me. I am glad you pointed out that this has a positive message about starting over. I liked your analogy about learning to drive and the pace of the novel.

  2. I have heard very little about this book, but it has got my attention. I think if I get a chance I will read it, but I'm not in a rush. Great review.

  3. Oh I almost bought this one a few weeks ago it sounds super good! I like your comparison with car stopping haha. I really want to read this one eventually! >.<

  4. Heidi - Actually this is much less dystopian than a lot of the others out there recently. Governmental control is almost nonexistent in this society!

    Amy - It has a really interesting cover, doesn't it? That green really draws you in. Definitely read it when you get a chance!

    Giselle - Ha ha, I figured everyone would understand what it meant when I described it! Make sure you read it when you get the chance!

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!!



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