Recommended for fans of: NO ONE
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
(first published August 1st 2011)
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.
In the aftermath of a World War III, America’s landscape has been ravaged and left two thirds of the population dead. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived , roaming the country as isolated scavengers.
But when Stephen’s grandfather dies, Stephen must take charge of what family remains. Soon he finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. There Stephen meets strong, defiant, Jenny Tan, who refuses to accept things as they are. 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 forever.
Alright I'll start with this one word. It's starts with S...
...what did you think I was going to say?....
This novel...can I even call it that? This had me bored from the first page. I was interested in this piece of literature based on the supplied summary and the cover, that's all. Just getting into the book was difficult, and being such a short read anyway, it started off slow and then progressed to being too quick. The characters were undercooked. They lacked potential in general, having no real base or foundation. I don't know anyone who could be that un-extraordinary in real life, and isn't the goal of an author to create an amazing story with strong back bone and amazing scenes, oh and also realistic characters? I know that when I read I search for characters that jump off the page; that feel right there with me. They need to have fears, regrets, deep motivations, feelings on subjects, allergies for all I care! Characters need to be memorable, all I remember about the main protagonist is nothing! I remember a little something about the protagonist's somewhat love interest which is that she likes to draw. That's it. Not very memorable if I say so myself.
This is basically how progression in the story went.
3) Father's Injury
4) Get's Found
5) Goes to an EXTREMELY EXTREMELY surreal place
6) Meets girl
7) Goes to school
8) Bunch of stupid stuff happens
9) Ditches Girl
10) Lives happily ever after
...........What. The. Heck.
Okay first of all, this is a post-apocalyptic, war-ravaged, rusted over danger zone. You can easily see that from the front cover. The book is called The freaking Eleventh Plague for goodness sakes, can we maybe not have some realism here please?
It's all good and well while they travel, yep crashed planes, abandoned cars, yep yep, and then we get to the real good part. He gets found by some men who decide to take him back to where they live. Now imagine the ENTIRE world hit so hard with plague and pestilence, filled with broken down cars, boarded homes, dust just floating around making the whole world just a haze of its former self. Now get this, you're picked up by some men and taken to their home, which looks like it came out of a showroom for the Home and Gardens Magazine!!!
I swear, this town looks like Downtown Charleston, South Carolina with it's white houses and front porches. The perfect Southern Living scene. The kids went to school and played football and had neighborhood picnics! Come on!
Now what is really the point with the whole race hate in this? They are basically attacking the protagonist's girl with hate because of her skin color. Get a life. Also, it was unnecessary. I don't know if it was some big underlying message about her but... could you repeat? Because I didn't get it.
So you see, this story is just a jumbled mess that needs to be mopped up. It could have been great if the characters had potential, the world they lived in was a little more real, and it hadn't been so hurried. The scenes were good and had so much potential, I'll admit, I even laughed a little when they played this one certain prank of letting out the farm animals in someone's yard. That was great. But everything else just clouded over the slightly sunny spots of this.
I've never, EVER, given a book away since I started reading... this was the first book I ever took off the shelf, looked at once, shook my head and tossed off to the side. I just feel bad for anyone who could subject themselves to this. I would love if Jeff could write something else...something better and more developed. If it takes 6 years then so be it, but please, you have the bravery and courage to publish something when most people don't, make it good! Make it worth my time! Make it worth a spot in my brain.
I just feel bad that Suzanne Collins now has her name printed on thousands of copies of this.