Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Teen/YA Review: The 5th Wave

I am probably the last person on earth to finally read the super-popular YA post-apocalyptic novel The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. My husband and son read it years ago, and it's been collecting dust on my TBR bookcase ever since (yes, I have an entire bookcase of books waiting to be read!). But that's what my Big Book Summer Challenge is for! That served as my motivation a few weeks ago to finally read this exciting, fast-paced thriller that takes place after a unique alien invasion. It was just as good as everyone has said!

Teenager Cassie, her father, and her little brother, Sammy, have somehow beat the odds and survived the first four waves of an alien invasion whose goal is clearly to kill off as many humans as possible. Her mother died in the recent pandemic, and now Cassie and her remaining family live in a survivor's camp. Contrary to most people's expectations, these aliens look and seem human, so it is hard to tell them apart from humans. After their camp is attacked, Cassie goes on the run, thinking the only way she can survive is to remain on her own and trust no one. But after she is shot by a sniper, a kind boy her age named Evan Walker saves her and nurses her back to health. She would like for him to help her find Sammy, but can she trust him? Meanwhile, a boy named Ben that Cassie went to school with (and had a crush on) before the invasion is stuck in a military camp, where kids as young as five are being trained as soldiers to fight off the aliens. Ben has some of the same questions as Cassie, as he grapples with the loss of his family and especially his little sister: who can he trust?

Although Cassie, on the run, is the main narrator, part of the story is also told from Ben's perspective inside the training camp, so the reader gets to see two very different aspects of post-invasion life. Flashbacks from both tell the story of how the invasion began and what happened in the first four waves. This action-packed story features almost constant suspense, so the short chapters go by very quickly (and I kept turning the pages long after bedtime!). Cassie and Ben are both very likeable, and I was rooting for them each to succeed, as they discovered new and surprising details about their enemies. There are constant unexpected twists and turns in the plot, making the novel a thriller, but I also found plenty of depth to the characters. I had only planned to read this book, the first in a series, but now I want to read more - I feel like I must find out what happens next (though this book stands on its own and comes to a satisfying conclusion). Now that I've finally read the book, my husband, son, and I plan to watch the movie, too!

457 pages, G.P. Putnam's Sons

P.S. If you've been thinking of joining the Big Book Summer Challenge but aren't sure you have the time, this is a great book to start with because it's a very fast read, in spite of its 400+ pages!

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

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I read this one on paper, but the audio version sounds great - check out a sample here.

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  1. I also have this book on my shelf but haven't read it yet because I overdosed on dystopian novels. But, it's been a few years so maybe I'll get to it sooner rather than later. Then I'll watch the movie because my friend's daughter is in it.

    1. Ah, well, you might want to take a look at this one then because it isn't dystopian - it's post-apocalyptic and takes place during the "apocalypse" so there is no organized government at all. So, maybe different than what you were sick of!

      So cool that your friend's daughter was in the movie! Wow, that is awesome - you definitely have to watch it! Extra motivation to read the book first (if you're like me and prefer to read the book before seeing a movie adaptation).