Fauquier County Public Library

Reading Riot: Teen Reader Reviews The 5th Wave

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Thanks to our Summer Reading Program, we received many teen book reviews, which we will be posting here from time to time. The following is a review of the popular novel The 5th Wave. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, the book is definitely worth reading! Here’s what Nathalie B. has to say about it.

The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyBook cover 5th-wave, person walking through woods

“The 5th Wave,” in my opinion, was one take on what an “alien invasion” could look like. I personally like this book for all its mixed interpretations and how it was all unpredictable. For example, its time setting could be taken as what you wanted it to be; for me I took it as futuristic with a whole different generation present. Some elements included adventure and romance, which at first sound odd when mixed, but if written in the right way it can create a best seller such as The 5th Wave.

“The 5th Wave” mainly, when not switching characters, follows Cassiopeia (Cassie) Sullivan, her parents, and her younger brother Sam. As I mentioned before, the book switches perspectives between Cassie and Ben Parish. When getting further into the book you realize that switching between two total opposites gives you a taste of the opposite reactions that two teenagers have with the “alien invasion.”

As the title implies the book is about five waves, which the aliens have constructed to essentially wipe out the human race entirely. The plot twist starts when you figure out that they don’t look like the mythical one-eyed colorful creatures who communicate in odd ways. These aliens apparently are implanted into a human’s brain not changing any feature, so you could fall asleep human and wake up alien. The five waves include:

1. All electricity cut off
2. Tsunami’s everywhere, bringing all coastal population to their grave
3. Disease spread all over the world
4. Killers everywhere, and where you least expect them

Finally the fifth wave, which not many have figured out, is to essentially get the remaining humans to turn on themselves, killing everyone once and for all. With all the turbulence caused by the four waves prior and traumas of lost family members humans had learned one lesson, trust no one. So if anyone came in contact with you or was even in your eye span, you kill them hoping it was an alien and you did not just reduce the human population by one. In Ben and Cassie’s separate story, they do encounter one person in common, Cassie’s younger brother Sam. Sam, only five years old, is a crucial part of the story because he is used as a common goal. They both realize that Sam, who they thought was the safest out of the three of them, is actually surrounded by aliens, making Cassie and Ben plan a rescue. What they don’t know is that they have more aliens to overcome, some which are under their own noses.

∼ Nathalie B. 7th grade

After you’ve read this fast-paced thriller, be sure to check out the sequel: The Infinite Sea in which the survivors must brace for winter or set out in search for others before the enemy closes in. In the final book of the trilogy, The Last Star, humans realize they’ve been betrayed and must decide what’s worth saving in what appears to be Earth’s final days.

∼ Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Bealeton branch library

Want to stay informed about books, websites and events for teens and young adult readers? Check out more from Reading Riot.

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