Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Plot Summary:
Cassie never thought that she would be one of the last human beings alive after the Others arrived. When the 1st Wave hit, no one had any idea why they came and what they wanted; everyone was anticipating some kind of Hollywood movie situation where the aliens would communicate with flashing lights and leave. Well, when they set off the massive EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) that knocked out everything, they finally told all of us that they weren't going anywhere and neither were we. Not only did they disable our power sources, modes of communication, transportation, and just about everything that would keep us from leaving the planet, they sent the 2nd Wave hit (nicknamed the Red Tsunami) that wiped out the human population just like the Plague wiped out most of Europe. Cassie lost her mother to the pestilence and was forced to leave her home with her father and brother. When the 3rd Wave hit, chaos ensued and humans were battling other humans instead of the Others. When Cassie and her family arrived at Camp Ashpit, they should have been saved. However, it was only a matter of time before Cassie and her family would split up, but what Cassie learns is frightening because she is now a fugitive being hunted by an assassin who has an obsession for her. Told in several different point of views, the story behind the invasion and what the government has planned for the human race, comes full circle, which begs the question: Why did the Others choose us and what are their plans. The ending will shock and amaze all of us.
Critical Evaluation:
I could not for the life of me put this book down. Rich Yancey is, in my opinion, on his way to becoming the next greatest writers for young adults. What is amazing about this story is the pace, given the size of the book and all of the details. I love that The 5th Wave is be hailed as the next interpretation of the famous Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," but there is one hug difference: The 5th Wave has the one thing The Road does not have: hope. After reading The Monstrumologist, I did not expect there to be any romantic connections, but I was quite pleased; it seems to be an integral part of Teen Sci Fi/Dystopian literature formula, which, if overdone, can easily ruin a story. Cassie is an amazing young lady because not only did she lose her entire family, she had to put her knowledge and skills to the test in order to survive. In many ways, Cassie exceeded my expectations because she had to assume so many responsibilities that forced her to get over her "awkwardness" about Ben, but this whole ordeal has given her the confidence to overcome any obstacle she faces. As for poor Sammy, he is another victim of war who had to endure just like Cassie. For a five-year-old, he has to be the bravest kindergartner ever because not only was he chosen, he had to throw away every child-like thought and hope to become a killing machine. However, his love for his sister is what preserves any innocence he has left, which makes this story greater. As for the assassin, The Silencer, his story is just plain tragic. The Silencer is a classic existential character where the body, mind, and soul are conflicted between living and just being. Granted, an alien being has taken over the body of the human, the alien is having a difficult time overtaking the human soul. Although it is possible for the human and alien to become one, it makes readers wonder if aliens are capable of having the consciousnesses and emotions of a human being. The Silencer's mission is to destroy every human being, but, after stalking and learning about Cassie, he was unable to kill her because he fell in love with her. I actually grew to care for the Silencer not because of his battle between the host and the invader, but because of its choices. In many respects, his story is all about what it means to be human and I am glad that he was able to experience it but, for Ben, his story is very different from the rest. Although he was destined to die, he was revived and healed against his own will and forced to become someone he is not. Just like the Silencer, Ben was put in a position that forced him to do things he didn't want, which helped him hold onto his own values and ethics. Just like Sammy, or Nugget, it seems that the harder they push, the harder he fights to hold onto himself. Although readers are not quite sure if there will be a sequel, I am hoping there isn't because there is no way human beings are capable of predicting the aftermath of an apocalypse. Clearly, we hope that they are able to start over, but we must ponder the question of their willingness to let things go back to the way they were before. The answer is left to the imagination, which is absolutely brilliant.

Information about the Author:
According to his website, Rick had always wanted to be writer since he was very young. He earned his Bachelor of Art in English at Roosevelt University, in Chicago. After graduating, Yancey returned home to Florida where he started teaching and worked in the the theater (para. 1). Eventually, he ended up taking a job with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and worked there for ten years, which inspired his memoir entitled "Confession of a Tax Collector." The Wall Street Journal has praised his memoir calling it one of the five best books on taxes.

Yancey is also author of the Alfred Kropp Trilogy and the Teddy Ruzak adult mystery series that have quite a following and his titles have been nominated for prestigious awards. Monstrumologist is Yancy's first young adult series and the second book of this series, The Curse of the Wendigo, is available for libraries to purchase. Lastly, Monstrumologist was also selected as a 2010 Michael L. Printz Honor Award.

Teen Sci Fi, Teen Romance, Teen Dystopian Thriller

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to The 5th Wave:
Awards & Recognition:

“It has the dark, swoopy adrenaline of The Hunger Games, but the elegiac tone of The Road. Who cares what shelf you find it on? Just read it.”
“Makes for an exhilarating reading experience.”
“Wildly entertaining . . . I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” -Justin Cronin, The New York Times Book Review
"A modern sci-fi masterpiece . . . should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires." —

"Action-packed intrigue."
*"Gripping!"-Publishers Weekly, *starred review*
*"Nothing short of amazing!"-Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
*"Yancey's heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand . . . a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike."-Booklist *starred review*
"This is DAMN and WOW territory.  Quite simply, one of the best books I've read in years." -Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author
"Breathtakingly fast-paced and original, The 5th Wave is a reading tsunami that grabs hold and won't let go.  A postapocalyptic alien invasion story with a smart, vulnerable heroine."-Melissa De La Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of the Blue Bloods series
"A fantastic read. The 5th Wave is an electrifying page-turner." -Kathy Reichs, New York Times bestselling author
"Prepare to set everything else aside when you launch into this one. The break-neck pace and high stakes will draw you in, but it's the characters who will keep you turning pages. It's been a long time since I've read a story this compelling."-Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times bestselling author

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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