Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Group)
Goodreads Synopsis: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
This book hooked me from the very first page. I found it so hard to put down that every night I would stay up later and later, telling myself that I would just finish the chapter. (Except I would get so engrossed in the story that I would just continue on through the next chapter without realizing it.) It surprises me that I liked this book so much, considering that I normally hate books that bounce between point of view characters. But, I think Yancy did a really good job with it.
I really liked Cassie. Like, REALLY liked Cassie. Her ability to stay true to herself and her obsession over Ben Parrish despite all that she went through made her seem so human. I don’t speak for everyone, but I found it refreshing that she was able to turn off survival mode and simply be a teenage girl. She was so incredibly real, especially when she mentions that she kept her cellphone even though it didn’t work anymore. I can relate. This is totally something that I would do in an alien apocalypse, however stupid and unnecessary it may be. Because, you never know. I might get a text. Just shove it in my backpack next to my books and my tampons. TAMPONS. Another thing Yancy mentions. Girls get periods in The 5th Wave. AMAZING! Never have I ever read a YA book that has even mentioned using the restroom, much less tampons. Girls don’t poop, it even says so in the Bible. But Yancy, despite being a male author, has zero qualms about girls and their ability to poop. Or use tampons.
I did not like the male characters as much. I thought that Ben’s heart was in the right place, and I liked that he took Nugget/Sam under his wing and took care of him when no one else would. I also I liked that he went back for Nugget when he FINALLY figured out the truth about the camp. (Took you a while, didn’t it Parrish?) However, I may just be super critical, but I could have done with less about how amazing his smile is and more of him actually being the leader he was supposed to be. We get it, you’re sexy and you know it.
Evan I liked a little more, just because the romantic in me enjoys a decent love story. However, I was relieved that he died in the end just because his and Cassie’s romance was one giant “star-crossed lovers” cliche. I also thought it was interesting that he went from trying to murder Cassie to falling in love with her. I don’t see how we are supposed to believe that Evan changes his whole perspective for a teenage girl. He has supposedly been around “watching” earth since the Triassic period. It has been ingrained in him by his fellow aliens that humans must be eradicated if they want to live on this planet, and yet he throws away this mentality for Cassie. I know he argued for cohabitation, so he wasn’t completely evil, but I felt like there was a plot hole there. (Or maybe just another cliche.)
It also didn’t add up for me that Cassie wasn’t immediately suspect of him when she first woke up. This is a girl who has lived in constant fear, who just shot someone because she was afraid that he was an alien, and now she is just okay with waking up to a stranger in a strange house? I get that she was probably blinded by how good looking he was, but she has trained her mind to think people are guilty until proven innocent at this point. I thought she should have panicked a bit more before trying to rationalize herself out of it. Thankfully, she eventually got there, but not soon enough.
Despite my nitpicking, this was a fantastic read with a really interesting premise. I cannot wait to read The Infinite Sea!