Monday, May 6, 2013

Dystopian Pick: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
G.P. Putnam's Sons
480 pages

Gripping, dynamic, and hard core, The 5th Wave will scare the daylights out of readers! Yancey creates a dystopia that is unspeakably terrible.  Aliens have taken over the Earth, but have they, really? Trust me, The 5th Wave is the best dystopian novel in years!

Cassie (short for Cassiopeia) has survived the 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves, but living terrified of dying 24/7 is nearly killing her. The only rule is "Trust no one." And it's worked for her so far. The Others look like humans, they talk like humans, they learn the rules that make them appear human, and for that reason, Cassie trusts no one. When her little brother Sams is taken away with all the other children, Cassie's father tells her take the guns and warns her with a silent signal--Run! Every human is slaughtered  back at Cassie's camp, and she's lucky to have escaped. She stays in the woods for weeks, learning to exist on bottled water and canned sardines. She knows she has to move on as winter is rapidly approaching.

When on the move, Cassie is wounded. She wakes up in a farmhouse and is nursed back to health by a boy named Evan. Cassie trusts no one, not even her savior. She knows something is "off" about Evan's story but can't figure out what it is. Cassie vows to find her little brother Sam and rescue him.

Evan agrees to help Cassie but she knows she has to go alone. Evan confides that he has fallen in love with Cassie, and he finally tells her his secret. Together, they face the enemy.

The 5th wave is humans turning on themselves. The aliens have been watching Earth for centuries; they know how humans think and act. They know they can defeat us, but do they know the sheer, brave will of one very determined teen-aged human  female? Cassie says, "But if I'm it, the last of my kind, the last page in human history, like hell I'm going to let the story end this way...Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity's last war, then I am the battlefield."

I was sorry when I had turned to the last page. The 5th Wave is unputtdownable; readers will empathize with Cassie--she is the kick-butt girl I want on my side at the end of the world. This is a dystopia with a human heart. Often, dystopian fiction is devoid of heart and soul, but not The 5th Wave. Yancey allows hope for dystopia and humankind. I have to love a writer who lists his trusty (now deceased) dog Casey in the acknowledgements; Yancey writes, "I will miss you, Case."

Highly, highly recommended and a MUST READ. Suitable for grade 7-up. One f-bomb when Cassie tells the alien commander off; violence, a few kisses. Cassie has to cut shrapnel out of Evan's backside, but it's not sexy in the least; it's a necessary medical procedure.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC  from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Quote taken from the ARC and may not be in the final bound copy.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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