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The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


Get ready to stock up on canned food and water, because as you read The Eleventh Plague, you will be hoping the world won't end. I have never really known what it felt like to fend for myself in a non-functioning world, but Jeff Hirsch makes it seem like I am right there, following along with the adventures.

Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Stephen Quinn, the book tells how his family (or what remains of them) deals with the ­destroyed America. The Eleventh Plague, or ­P11, was an infection unleashed by China during the end of the war. After an accident leaves Stephen's father in a coma and his grandfather dead, Stephen is alone until he finds another group of survivors who offer something that he could have only dreamed of. He suddenly finds himself at Settler's Landing, a settlement that is trying to rebuild America. After a prank that Stephen and Jenny (a girl he meets there) play goes horribly wrong, they both discover that Settler's Landing isn't as stable as it ­appears.

I really loved this book because of the cautious, quiet, and obedient protagonist and all the stages Stephen goes through. He changes from being cautious and closed to trusting those around him. ­Although he passed on early in the book, his grandpa's strict voice remains in Stephen's head which is how Stephen makes his decisions. Another outcast in Settler's Landing, Jenny Tan, is Chinese. Everyone calls her a traitor and therefore, she is just like Stephen at the beginning – quiet and untrusting, but strong and is a big influence on Stephen.

Along with these positives, some negatives slip in. I feel the pacing of the book is a ­little off. Also, parts are predictable, but I feel the ending makes up for that, being very unexpected. Despite some ­negatives, the well-rounded characters are a plus.

After reading The Eleventh Plague, I make sure all my emergency packs and escape exits are ready at any moment. I have to sanitize myself, too. Add this book to your “must read before the world ends” list!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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