Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

I picked this book up the other day when I ran into Chapters to pick up a new journal. I had to take a swing through the YA section and this one caught my eye. I'm always looking for new dystopian novels since those are my favourite books to read and so many kids seem to gravitate towards them as well.

Jeff Hirsch is a new author, this is his first book. I have to say that I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. His characters, the plot and concept of this novel is unique and fascinating to read.

The Eleventh Plague is set sometime in the near future after a war that left all of America completely devastated. What the war didn't wipe out, a deadly flu virus did almost destroying all of earth's population- most people refer to it as "The Eleventh Plague." For Stephen, his life as a scavenger means that he walks across North America searching for useful items left behind. When he, his father and grandfather have enough items they take them to trade for things they need in order to survive. His grandfather has drilled into him that they need to stay away from other people and not get involved. When his grandfather dies, Stephen and his father are faced with the difficult task of scavenging enough to stay alive. After an accident, Stephen's father falls into a coma and Stephen is left to figure out how to go on. He makes it to a settlement unlike any place he could imagine. There, he comes to realize that there is more to life than just surviving. He begins to make friends and finds a place with a family. But not everything is happy in Settler's Landing. Some people don't trust Stephen and he has a hard time trusting others. Throughout the story, Stephen is constantly battling his grandfather's voice telling him people can't be trusted with the safety and love he feels when he is with the family who took him in.

This story has it all, adventure, romance and friendship. I can see many kids enjoying reading this one. I can't wait until school starts on Tuesday to share it with some of my kids from last year. This would be a good book for those who like The Hunger Games, Gone and other novels about a post-apocalyptic world.

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