Author: Jeff Hirsch
Published by: Scholastic Paperbacks
Format: Paperback ARC
Summary from Goodreads: In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.
Jeff Hirsch makes a name for himself with his debut novel The Eleventh Plague. I hadn't heard much about this novel, so for once I felt like I was completely looking at a novel with fresh eyes. While the premise of this story was entertaining, it wasn't as original and unique as I was hoping. This seems to be a reoccurring theme and while I do enjoy dystopian novels I want ones that catch my attention or bring something new to the table.
Stephen is an enjoyable character that is loyal and a bit of a rule breaker. After coming to Settler's Landing he wants to start over, but he has trouble trusting others and can't seem to go of his past. Jenny on the other-hand is a fantastic character. She’s charismatic, spunky and full of life. She's got an edge to her and you can tell she's completely comfortable with who she is and what she wants. I'm actually kind of in awe of her and wish I could be as confident as she is. Jenny's a bit of an outsider too so when she teams up with Stephen trouble is sure to ensue.
The other characters were not very memorable. I did like Jackson, Derek, and their quibbling along with the rest of the teenage characters was fun. It was nice to see light-heartedness in this hopeless world. One thing I did really enjoy about the story was when the teens got together and played baseball. It seemed such an ordinary thing to do and I loved that they kept up a small amount of normalcy despite the disarrayed world around them.
As for the writing, I enjoyed the style though it was a bit simplistic. It was an extremely fast read and when it was over I felt that it was almost too short. I think there could have been more detail and pages devoted to certain situations and feelings. I felt that the romance was a little rushed and I wanted to know not only what the characters did, but also how they felt.
The Eleventh Plague was a bit darker than I was expecting, but not so much that it shifted to horror. While this book didn't do it for me, I'm interested to see what Jeff Hirsch comes up with next.