August 12, 2011

Review: The Eleventh Plague By Jeff Hirsch

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



  1. I have recently discovered the YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic read and I am absolutely in love. :)

    Thanks for the review of The Eleventh Plague, I've added it to my wishlist.


  2. I think I've heard about this books somewhere online, I just never got to check it out.
    However, the review intrigued me... I have actually started reading Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic novels and I always hate when I finish them because they always have a message for us, the readers.
    I'm really looking forward to reading this book soon.

  3. I haven't read any post-apocalyptic books yet. I do tend to watch movies like that!!

    barbs562 AT gmail DOT com

  4. I really liked this book. I also really like reading everyone else's review of this one. I had such a hard time putting my thoughts on this book into a review. I couldn't think of a way to do it justice without out literally giving a spoiler filled review. I really liked the way that you did this. :-)

  5. I recently listened to the audio book version of this and really enjoyed it. It is probably the most realistic post-apocalyptic books that I've read so far.


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