Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Publish Date: September 1, 2011
The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, the world is faced with a choice: rebuild what was or make something new.
This novel is short yet sweet. Dark yet uplifting.
The Eleventh Plague focuses on a post-apocalyptic world where a virus had been released (as part of a world war) and wiped out much of the human population. Our main character, Stephen, is a young 15-year-old who wanders around with his father as scavengers. They roam around the U.S. looking for anything that they can trade for batteries, clothes, etc...
The author, Jeff Hirsch, does a fantastic job of bringing us down to Stephen's level and making us feel like the world has truly ended. When Stephen and his dad find a can of pears and relish the simple act of eating them, you actually feel like you, yourself, haven't eaten for days. It is a bleak start to a novel, but the story is also interspersed with Stephen's memories of the good times - and I found it absolutely fascinating.
I don't want to give too much away, but as the story goes on, Stephen and his father find a hidden village; a place where everyone has tried to rebuild the lives they had before the plague. Children are going to school, playing sports, having Thanksgiving meals. But can Stephen really trust the people in this town?
What we realize - and what I'm absolutely positive would happen in real life - is that humans never truly learn from our mistakes. We could have 3, 4, even 5 World Wars and we'd still be quick to fight, quick to kill and quick to exploit. Still, there are moments of hope glimmering throughout the story, and all we can do is hope that those tiny glimmers manage to be enough.
5 out of 5 stars
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