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The Scourge

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,108 ratings  ·  716 reviews
When a plague isn’t all that kills…

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge—and quarantine colony—for th
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Heidi I just discovered this! If you click on the libraries tab (next to get a copy, & amazon) it takes you to a library page that lists the book as YA. I w…moreI just discovered this! If you click on the libraries tab (next to get a copy, & amazon) it takes you to a library page that lists the book as YA. I wish goodreads would make this more obvious.(less)
Yana It starts off with a great friendship, later in the book it develops into a romance.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,108 ratings  ·  716 reviews

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Jennifer Nielsen
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
Okay yes, I'm biased.

But I am so proud of this book, and I hope it's one you'll enjoy!

The idea began in a most unusual place - a fascination with leprosy in the 20th Century. We knew what it was AND how to cure it, yet because of the stigma associated with it, in many places, it was still legal to pull a leprosy victim away from their home and send them to an isolation colony permanently. There are still some colonies in the world where survivors remain, voluntarily now. And I thought, if a gove
jv poore
River people are derogatorily referred to as “grubs” and in retaliation, they only address townspeople as “pinchworms”. It is true that the folks outside of town prefer their own company and way of life. It is also accurate to say they’ve been ostracized, blamed for being the source and spreaders of the Scourge, stealing so many lives hundreds of years ago.

Ani Mells is a proud river person known to create a touch of trouble wherever she goes. Perhaps a bit stubborn and quite possibly prejudiced
m a r y l i z
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reread March/April 2020:

Lowering my rating by a star because I noticed the pacing was a bit off this time around. Still, it's such a fun book and I'm glad I reread it!

I just haven't been myself lately so I'm in a HECKIN AWFUL reading slump and took over a month to read this. someone pls send help.

4 stars

. . . . . . . .

I think I'm gonna need about ten years to catch my breath. GOOD GRIEF, THIS BOOK WAS INTENSE. It kept me on the edge of my seat, white-knuckled in some parts. (Whether that was fro
Colleen Houck
A really cool concept. Those in power manufacture a disease to get rid of people who might cause trouble. The cage was an interesting punishment. It would definitely work on me. Loved the beginning when the heroine is hanging upside down with a vine wrapped around her leg. =)
Libby May
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book but it was like a more sci-fi, none-religion based rebellion in almost exactly the same plot theme as Counted Worthy that I just read XDD
Anyway, besides that it was clean in regards to language, witchcraft, romance, and such. There wasn't any violence but definitely some cruel mind games and threats to manipulate people into doing what the antagonists wanted done. I didn't think it was bad but if that sort of thing bothers you then that's probably not the best idea for you.
R.F. Gammon
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The plague stuff all hit WAY close to home on this one right now...yikes.
Kate Willis
Since my Goodreads friends are such big fans of Jennifer Nielsen, I decided it was high time I tried one of her books. I chose this standalone because 1) the cover and interior formatting <3 and 2) the concept looked interesting. ;)

It was good. :D

I always love me a good medieval setting, and this book had it all. Dungeons, trees, primitive medicine, hardy rural folk…

Speaking of hardy rural folk, while Ani wasn’t my favorite character ever, this was one thing I liked about her. She could have te
Kailyn Kausen
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Jennifer A Nielson is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, authors. I have to admit though that I was not impressed with this book.

I had difficulty identifying the age of the characters because the writing seemed targeted at middle grade kids, but some content signaled a YA audience. So maybe a transition age? But then I also had some other problems with this book, including there was still a lot of information being handed to me up past page 100 and Nielson would point out things t
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
The story really grows on you as you follow Ani and Weevil, (who are great friends by the way,) as they are forced to uncover the vile truth behind the scourge firsthand. The story is fairly fast paced and rather entertaining, but also a little to obvious in regards to plot twists; possibly because they are hinted at numerous times beforehand. Yet, I would happily recommend it to middle graders, although it won't likely be the first novel to spring to mind. Still, it's a decent read, and enterta ...more
Four. Yellow. Starries.
There is so much I need to say, I can’t say it all out. If you understand that you’re probably gonna understand the rest of this review.
*clears throat*

Characters In 2 Words Or More: Earned 3.5 stars

Ani: Fearless
The first word to come to my mind is fearless, and I do say she is extremely fearless. I would flip if there were snakes in front of me and I was put in a cage with them instead of them living their own lives. Yeah, I’m a juicy,

The Scourge was bittersweet to me. Yes, I enjoyed the heck out of this book, the plot, and the characters. YET, I'm so sad that it is a standalone. Ugh, WHY?!? Especially with that ending I was hoping for another book. Like, come on - I need another book (or two) to satisfy me!

That being said, I still enjoyed this. I loved the adventure and the world building throughout the book. Plus, the characters were written so freaking well. If I could, I would
Pranta Ghosh Dastider
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

Beware of the land
Where enemy is bright,
For townspeople and river-folks
The Scourge has come alike.

When I started this book, I was sure I was going to like it. Since, Jeni Neilsen has never let me down, this was a must. The question was how much was I going to enjoy it? And to be honest, I wish I could enjoy it more. But, the amount of joy I got was alright.

The story starts with all of her books, with a mischievous character, a good supporting friend and villain. Here on top of all these t
Ms. Yingling
This one is definitely fantasy, set in a sort of medievalish world plagued not only by disease but by divisive class wars. Not as action packed as the author's other works. ...more
Angie Thompson
Kay, I really, really enjoyed this story. :) The concept was really unique--sort of dystopian crossed with kingdom adventure/non-magical fantasy. The conflict between the townsfolk and the River People was set up really well, and even though it took a while to figure out everything that was happening, the feeling that something wasn't quite right was strong from the first.

I loved Ani's narrator voice--her dry, understated humor, her habit of glossing over the the truth, and the way she always ca
ashley nicole
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First off, I just want to say how much I love Jennifer Nielsen's writing in general. I love the wit she puts into her books and this book was no exception.
From the beginning, we hear snarky remarks from both Ani and Weevil (who just happen to be perfect for each other *heart eyes*) that at times made me laugh out loud.
I loved the friendship between these two as well, which eventually buds into romance. Their devotion to each other is so heart-warming!
And then there's Della. Her addition to the
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Maybe 3.5 stars. Ani and Weevil are best friends from the lower caste River People; however, their people are blamed for a terrible disease (the Scourge.) Anyone with the disease is banished to a island prison to avoid contamination, but the truth is something different as Ani and Weevil discover. I found the first half of the book kind of slow, but liked the pacing in the second half. Also, I thought the world building was subpar, especially in comparison to the richness of Nielsen's Ascendance ...more
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With each book she writes, my love for Jennifer A. Nielsen deepens. She writes in a way the hooks the reader and keeps the pages turning, needing to know what happens to the amazing characters she creates. The Scourge is another must have for your classroom library! Readers will love the spunkiness of Ani and the loyalty of the friendship she shares with Weevil!
Elizabeth Dragina
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memorable
4.5 stars ~

You know that feeling you get after you read a good book and you stare into space awhile replaying your favorite scenes? Yeah? That's how I feel. It's a good feeling.

Was there anything I disliked? Ummmm . . . . *shifts eyes* Yyyyeeessss.... maybe? *sigh* If I'm being honest that ending shattered my dreams of giving this book full 5 stars. Let me tell you why. . . Chapter 46 was good, intense, and fulfilling. Then chapter 47 comes along and rushes you into a crash landing. All the sud
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
When Ani is captured by the government and tested for the deadly plague that has swept through the land she is shocked. But, she knows she doesn't have it. She knows they'll have to let her go, but when the test comes back positive she is shocked. Sent to Attic Island, Ani is now among all the others who have been infected with the scourge to live out the rest of their painful lives. Until slowly, Ani begins to discover what is going on.

The Scourge is not a book that leaves a lasting impression
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was horribly disappointed by this book. I loved Jennifer Nielsen's other fantastic books, especially the Ascendance Trilogy, but this book was . . . boring. And I didn't care for Ani or Weevil. Perhaps it was too rushed, or I just didn't have enough time to actually care.
I don't know.
But I found myself speeding through the book not because I couldn't tear myself away but because I wanted it done and over with.
False Prince is so much better.
Oh, and this book is the most predictable thing in the
Kian Aleman
Well that wasn't the greatest, and it took a while to get started, but once it did it never really stopped.

(3.5 stars)

I probably set my hopes too high because of how much I loved The False Prince, but this just...wasn't as great? Not that much really happened until the very end, and the conclusion was so rushed, it didn't quite seem like it was over. But it was definitely a fun book!
(also, I aggressively headcanon Weevil as black. Nothing can ever change my mind.)
This was one of those book that was definitely not something I should have read. It's my own fault. I should have known better. The characters weren't too bad. I did like the friendship Weevil and Ani had. I will admit the ending was interesting too. I didn't see it being that. Just took too long to get there. ...more
Page Morgan
I really liked Ani and her friend, Weevil, as well as the premise (though I did have the plot twist more or less figured out less than a quarter of the way into the story). Ani was a strong main character with a great voice. I haven't read the author's other books yet, but I will definitely do so now. ...more
Reviews May Vary
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z2017read
Enjoyed this middle grade book about a girl who is on a mission to find a cure for the infection that has been ravaging her town. A little predictable if you read All The Books; a good one for the more casual reader.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
ARC from ALA

Summary: Jennifer Nielsen writes another solid middle grades action-adventure pitched to please a wide audience of readers. Clear character development and social themes make this book rewarding for younger readers; I would have liked to have seen the plotting a little tighter and the book a little shorter.

Review: Ani Mells is a River Person of Keldan. The townspeople look down on the nature-based ways of the river people and call them “grubs,” for Ani, the townspeople are the “pinch
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is no secret that I’m a big fan of Jennifer Nielson and her books. From the first page of The False Prince, I was hooked by the way she spins a tale, throwing you right into the action with characters you can’t help but love and root for. The Scourge is no different, pitting the sassy and irreverent Ani Mells against impossible situations. As you’d expect from one of Nielsen’s characters, Ani does not play by the rules and she never goes down without a fight. Ani is gutsy and smart—truly a ch ...more
Avery (ThePagemaster)
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ever since the Ascendance/False Prince Trilogy, Nielsen has grown to become one of my favorite authors. Then, she came out with her historical fiction debut, A Night Divided, which, despite not being as breathtaking as the FP Trilogy, it did have a lot of impact and another recommend.

Now, The Scourge delves back into the fantasy niche that attracted me towards Nielsen, but a standalone and not a trilogy/series.

The inspiration for this novel was what made me love this book a little more than the
Serene Feng
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*5 full stars*

Oh my. Oh my!!
I'm so in love with Jennifer Neilsen's books!!
I've never read anything quite like her style of writing.
I usually don't like books with a dystopia theme, but The Scourge sure was an exception.
I absolutely loved how one of the book's main focuses was around friendship, and how Ani kept being hopeful even though everything was so wrong.
The friendship Ani has with Weevil is beautiful. It reminds me time after time again what true friendship means. Sometimes I even wish
Brooke Wayne
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It always surprised me with what happened, which is refreshing when I've just read so many predictable books lately. I especially loved the ending. My only itty bitty little problem with it is when (view spoiler). But other than that, I really loved this book. Especially the plot twists. ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I found the premise of the book really interesting but the whole execution was very lackluster and nothing stood out in this book for me. I think the characters were especially boring and I didn't like how their age was very ambiguous so I never quite figured out whether they were in their early teens or older and it seemed weird to me for some reason. I do want to check out The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen though because I've heard some great things about it. ...more
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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more

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