Published May, 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
How do you rid the earth of humans? You rid the humans of their humanity.
Cassie Sullivan is on the run. Months ago, an alien mothership ominously appeared in the sky, and at first there was nothing. But then, the waves started. The first wave fried all electronics and motors–cars, phones, planes, emergency sirens. The second wave caused the sea to rise up and destroy every coastline on earth. The third wave was a disease that killed off almost everyone who remained. The fourth wave was a group of special trained alien assassins–silencers–released to pick off the remaining humans. Nobody knows that the fifth wave will be.
Cassie Sullivan is on the run. Silencers look just like humans, so to stay alive, she has to stay alone and stay on the move. Told in fragments and flashbacks, and from multiple points of view, The 5th Wave paints a ragged picture of earth over the course of a slow and grueling apocalypse. For Cassie, there is no last fight, no final battle field. There is only kill or be killed, and her one rule: Trust no one. Which works well, until it doesn’t.
As a character, Cassie is complex and interesting. She isn’t a brat who spends the whole book whining about how unfair her life is, nor is she the model citizen who is convinced that her moral high ground will bring her victory over evil. She is just a teenage girl trying to survive in the woods. She has character flaws and selfish wishes and hopes for herself. She is brutally honest about the possibility of her own survival.
Yancey’s writing style is equally compelling. The book reads a little bit like a train of thought, and the way Yancey weaves together plot and memories to advance the story leaves the reader wanting more of both. While some of the technical parts of the science fiction are less interesting or even confusing, for the most part this book portrays the best and worst of humanity–how we cling to the past, and how far we will go to save our loved ones.
Genre: Science Fiction
Keywords: aliens, family, apocalypse, trust, love
Best quote: “We’d stared into the face of Death, and Death blinked first. You’d think that would make us feel brave and invincible. It didn’t.”