Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsh

After a world war where the majority of Earth's inhabitants are killed by biological warfare, Stephen, his father and grandfather struggle to stay alive by keeping to themselves and scavenging whatever remains they can find among the destruction. His grandfather has always taught Stephen to be on his guard and lookout only for himself. Others survivors cannot be trusted -- they might be thieves or 'Slavers' who will capture you and force you to work for them or sell you off. His grandfather is a harsh and abusive man, but Stephen knows he's the one who has kept them alive so far.

So when Stephen's grandfather dies from the deadly virus that wiped out the majority of the world's population, Stephen is afraid things will change for the worse. It's only a couple nights later when his father tries to rescue a mother and son from dangerous Slavers when everything goes wrong. His father is injured and falls into a coma and Stephen has no other option than to accept help from a group of strangers who claim they can take his father to a doctor. Stephen soon finds himself in Settler's Landing -- a hidden community where people have houses, food and carry on with things like school and farming as if the world catastrophe had not happened. Stephen is wary of everything, especially since there are some people in the community who obviously do not want him there. He wonders how long the community can hide themselves from other survivors who would kill to have access to Settler's Landing and is intrigued by Jenny, the rebellious adopted daughter of the family he is staying with. Before long he finds himself in the middle of a deadly battle where Settler's Landing is under attack from a group of Slavers and a neighbouring community.

The verdict on this book: a simplistic plot with some good tension and a couple exciting scenes (being chased by Slavers, the big battle at the end) but I found the characters too cliche and needing more development (Stephen falling for the mysterious, rebellious girl was much too predictable). The story just wasn't original enough or powerful enough to make it stand out from other dystopian novels out there. Would I recommend it? Sure, I think someone looking for something straight forward, grounded in our real world (most things are pretty believable and there are no elements of paranormal or fantasy) and not overloaded with romance might like this...
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