Monday, December 5, 2011

The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

This is another post-apocalyptic young adult novel. In this scenario, the US declared war with China. The US sent nukes to China and China returned the favor with a biological weapon, P11H3. In the end, everyone just called it P11 or the Eleventh Plague. A souped-up strain of the flu swept through the US, Mexico and Canada. Beyond that, no one really knew because the country had collapsed. The lack of staff caused the entire infrastructure to collapse. People tried barricading themselves in their homes in a reverse quarantine but they ended up being barricaded in a tomb.

Twenty years after it all went down, a few people are still struggling to survive. A fifteen year old boy, Stephen has been traveling with his family as scavengers his entire life. Now, only he and his father survive. The question Stephen asks is, "will everything be the same?" Will they survive, will they keep going the way they always have? The idea of change is a frightening one for Stephen because there has been only one way he has ever known, his grandfather's way. His grandfather is gone now but will their way of life be gone too?

I liked this book. I thought it offered a good representation of how people would evolve in such a scenario. There are, of course, the predators as well as the people who keep moving in order to stay safe. There are also those who strive for a life that is safe without having to be on the move or on the run. The big question is whether Stephen and the friends he finds along the way allow the people that destroyed to world to keep on running the world or whether they will force a change.

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