The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Stephen Quinn was born into a world that had collapsed after the war and a deadly influenza virus known as the eleventh plague.  He roamed the desolate landscape with his family as salvagers, looking for scraps of anything valuable enough to trade.  Above all, they keep to themselves to avoid the bands of slavers.  Then Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father is left in a coma.  Can Stephen trust the people who take him to Settler’s Landing?  When he and Jenny play a prank that goes horribly wrong, Stephen must choose who he will stand with and hope it is not too late.

Jeff Hirsch has created a chilling portrayal of the future that seems all too possible–just not likely, I hope.   The landscape is littered with the broken down remnants of our modern life.  Cars fill parking lots of empty malls.  The golden arches sag beneath the tendrils that threaten to pull them down.  In the midst of this death and destruction, Settler’s Landing promises the hope of rebuilding a new life–or does it?  Underneath the calm and order of farming and school and even a doctor’s care, a darkness lurks that could ruin it all.  By the end of the story, each character must make a choice about who they will be.  Will they give in to fear or take a stand for what is right?

I loved the character of Stephen Quinn.  He is haunted by the voice of his grandfather and afraid to accept the hope offered by Settler’s Landing. With his fathe unconcious, he has to make the decicions that will determine their survival, but the world contained in Settler’s Landing is unlike anything he as ever experienced.  He is desperate for the community and even school, but his emotions get the better of him, especially where Jenny is concerned.

I’m still thinking about this book and week later.  Can we choose who we will be even in the most dire circumstances?

2 Comments on The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

  1. Sally
    November 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm (4 years ago)

    I am currently teaching this to my 8th graders would love ideas or suggestions / This is a great book . I read it and thought i needed to teach it I was lucky my principal ordered it for my four classes , so excited to be able to share the book with kids

    • Mrs. McGriff
      November 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm (4 years ago)

      How exciting! I have not taught this one, but it is very popular with my students. There are so many things that are possible with it, especially tying in with US history and creating a new government. Have you checked to see if Jeff Hirsch does Skype visits? I have done Skype visits with other authors, and the students love making connections with the writer of the books they read.


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