Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Eleventh Plague review

15-year-old Stephen is traveling with his father and grandfather searching for items they can sell or trade in a world where most of the population has been wiped out after a plague sent by the Chinese. When his grandfather dies and his father is then seriously injured in an accident, Stephen is taken in by a family living in a settlement unlike anything he has ever seen before. Used to having nothing, the settlement is clean and organized, with a steady food supply, medication, and even a school, but Stephen isn't quite sure he can trust what his eyes are showing him or what the people are offering.

What follows is, at times, heart-pounding and thrilling, while also being a quiet reflection on what it means to truly trust in people and humanity.

Though I wasn't completely blown away by the book, I did very much appreciate the writing. It had the power of being exciting, while at the same time, reflective and calming. Stephen came across as a very believable character and the world Hirsch created was one that wasn't completely unbelieveable or fantastical. With all the craziness going on in our world right now, believing something along these lines could happen was not difficult at all.

I didn't totally care for Jenny and not just because she was annoying and filled with such anger that it was a turn-off to me, as a reader. I felt her character was almost unnecessary in the manner Hirsch presented her in. Does there really ALWAYS have to be a romantic interest? Couldn't she just be a girl character set on being angry at her circumstances and wanting to kick some butt to take care of it? I didn't need the romantic aspect and would have been happier had it not been included.

Overall, an entertaining and quick read. 

The Eleventh Plague
Jeff Hirsch
304 pages
Young Adult
Scholastic Press
September 2011
Review copy provided by publisher

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