The 5th Wave
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Number of Pages: 480 (hard cover)
Advertised Age Level: Ages 12 and up
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 16+
Language: some profanity
Sex: minimal kissing
Drug/Alcohol Use: none
Violence: extreme violence, prevalent death as humans are subject to complete genocide
Social Issues: alien invasion, death of parents, destruction of humanity, plague, dystopian world
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Premise: Aliens have arrived on the earth and are systematically killing all humans. First they use electromagnetic pulses to disable all modern technologies. Then they manipulate the earth’s tectonic plates to create massive tsunamis which wipe out the coasts. Next is a plague known as the Red Death, which kills almost everyone still left alive. The most recent “wave” the aliens have begun is using sniper-like soldiers known as Silencer’s to pick off humans one by one.
Cassie has managed to survive all 4 waves so far. She’s lost both of her parents, and her little brother Sammy has been taken away by soldiers to some place she doesn’t know. However, Cassie has vowed to rescue Sammy, so she sets off to find him. She knows that she can trust no one; she’s not even sure if there are any humans left on the planet. All she knows is that nothing will ever be the same, and her chances of survival are very slim.
Potential Points of Concern:
The aliens are determined to kill all humans, and the methods they employ are very extreme. When the plague is unleashed, people die in painful, horrible ways. The aliens implant devices into the necks of humans and can press a remote button which instantly kills that person.
As society has disintegrated, bands of feral humans roam around, stealing food and killing at random.
Cassie has learned to use a gun and is forced to kill a soldier who she suspects may be trying to kill her.
Cassie is shot in the thigh and nearly dies.
Zombie – a character in the book – is trained along with other children to become soldiers. They are sent on missions to kill aliens and some of the members of his platoon are killed.
One character is a silencer, whose job is to kill all humans it finds.
Overall, this book depicts a dystopian world where humans are hunted and killed.
Age Appropriateness: 13 +