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The 5th Wave Hardcover – May 7, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Teen Book of the Month, May 2013 Spotlight Pick: Forget your E.T. version of sweet, harmless aliens--in The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey imagines a silent invasion that takes extraterrestrial intelligence to a whole new level. Alternating points of view peel back each new layer of the novel while death, separation, and love, push his diverse characters to survive in a terrifying new world. As a storyteller, Yancey is as cunning as his aliens, weaving the characters’ lives together in unexpected ways. After the first couple of chapters I found myself sucked wholeheartedly into the story, wondering who can be trusted and what chilling new twist is lurking around the corner. Book 2 can’t get here fast enough… --Seira Wilson

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Cassie travels with just the essentials. First on the list: Luger, M-16, ammo, Bowie knife. Incidentals like food, water, sleeping bag, and nail clippers come further down. A nondescript 16-year-old, she is one of the very few people left alive on Earth. Aliens sent waves of destructive forces to eradicate humans: Cassie's family survived the 1st and 2nd Waves. Her mother died in the 3rd Wave (Pestilence) and her father in the 4th (Silencers). Her little brother may still be alive; he may even be safe in a military compound, as Cassie deals with the 5th Wave- a carefully orchestrated survival dance of kill or be killed. The aliens are never described in detail, and their reasons for wanting the humans gone are not clear. But they are ruthless and determined, and their methods for gaining control mean readers will never again see owls as the friendly, mail-delivering avians portrayed in the world of Harry Potter. The compelling story is told from the viewpoints of Cassie and Ben, who is now a soldier known as Zombie. Cassie crushed on Ben at school, but he never particularly noticed her. Now he has transformed from handsome high school sports star to focused paramilitary killer. Yancey's story is full of violent twists and turns, but character development continues along with nonstop action. Cassie and Ben grow out of high school self-centeredness and find leadership qualities. Cassie's interactions with an alien elevate him from a one-dimensional "bad guy" role. While the big body counts (billions die) happen largely offscreen, there are numerous more personal instances in which teens are both killers and killed. The ending has enough planned loose ends to practically guarantee a sequel.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • Series: The 5th Wave (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399162410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399162411
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,416 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Rick Yancey ( is the author of the New York Times bestseller The 5th Wave, The Infinite Sea, several adult novels, and the memoir Confessions of a Tax Collector. His first young-adult novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, was a finalist for the Carnegie Medal. In 2010, his novel, The Monstrumologist, received a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When he isn't writing or thinking about writing or traveling the country talking about writing, Rick is hanging out with his family.

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#12 in Books > Teens
#12 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 167 people found the following review helpful By April VINE VOICE on April 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is something about alien invasion that I find so utterly terrifying, yet so compelling. When I first heard about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I knew without a doubt that I had to read it. Previously, I had read Yancey's Monstrumologist books and found myself utterly impressed with his writing style - pacing and plot were not sacrificed for syntax. Yancey's science fiction novel absolutely lived up to the expectations I held for it - namely that it would be strongly written, make me think, and have me invested in the characters.

The Others have attacked humanity through different waves. The first wave of attacks leaves people without use of electricity. The second wave results in coastal destruction. The third wave brings plague. The fourth wave involves the Others, the aliens, hunting the last specks of humanity. So, what does the fifth wave of attack have in store? Yancey's plot weaves loss, fear, and questions of what comprises humanity in an epic, pulsating story. Told through a variety of point of views, The 5th Wave is about a girl, Cassie Sullivan, who decides to save her brother Sammy despite the insurmountable odds against her. Along the way, she meets Evan Walker who is a bit of a mysterious loner dude, but he just may be Cassie's only shot at rescuing Sammy.

Cassie Sullivan is hardcore. With an M-16 she follows the mantra, if something is shooting at you, shoot back. She was not always that way though. Before the invasion, Cassie was a frizzy haired girl that no one noticed. Yet, she adapts to her new life. Straight up, Cassie is incredibly compelling. I rooted for her to come out okay and unscathed for the whole of the book. I loved that she used her brains before she uses her M-16.
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107 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Al Hence on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book can be a lot of fun if you either a) don't pay much attention to details or b) aren't worried about factual lapses. As for plot - standard issue inscrutable aliens arrive in earth orbit and proceed to wipe out most of the human race. As it later develops, they could have accomplished their goals without as much as a minor disturbance. However, that would be beneath their dignity (seriously) so instead they embark on an incredibly complex scheme to kill everyone. Written as a YA novel with a sixteen year-old protagonist, it requires some heavy-duty suspension of disbelief. But I still found it very enjoyable for the first half with some scenes that were actually moving. Characterization was an especially strong point. Unfortunately it then lapsed into an extended parody of military boot camp and the story began to fall apart as the author tried to cover a couple of gaping plot holes. There are several unlikely events, a few preposterous ones and a couple that are flatly impossible. All this leads to an utterly unlikely rabbit-out-of-the-hat conclusion. The characters try to lampshade this with only moderate success. The viewpoint character also makes a lot of fun of popular science fiction plot lines without seeming to realize she is inside one. I hope this was the author's intention. Finally, I had trouble with the military content since the author apparently did not trouble himself to learn much about the military or anything about weapons, although both are heavily featured.
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198 of 237 people found the following review helpful By S. Jordan on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a mother of teens, I often read YA as a means to see what they are reading as well as have informed discussions about the books to enhance their learning. Over the past few years I have enjoyed commercial staples like The Hunger Games and Divergent, discovered hidden gems (such as the criminally over-looked Unwind) and endured moronic drivel like the Twilight series. As others have mentioned, I had high hopes for The 5th Wave based on stellar reviews and what appeared to be an interesting premise.

Although the book started out promisingly, I had to force myself to complete it as it became more and more derivative and tedious - borrowing from TV shows like Falling Skies and books like The Hunger Games (and even The Passage) in a manner that bored and annoyed me. There is so little in the way of original thought here, I am stunned that the book has been so well received. Characters that seemed intriguing when they were fist introduced quickly become so predictable that you could almost anticipate their actions and statements before you turned the page.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the whole concept of the aliens and their mission in the story is not fleshed out enough to make it interesting or compelling. In fact, I found myself saying "oh please" out loud once or twice as the whole invasion seems constructed as a way for the characters to have certain experiences as opposed to a well-developed concept about these invaders and the larger implications for humankind.

While I do realize this is meant to be YA material, I still thought the book was far too one-dimensional and would bore most savvy young readers who have come to expect more for the whole dystopian genre.
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101 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Jill on May 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
"Do you know why we will win this war? Why we cannot lose? Because we know how you think. We've been watching you for six thousand years. When the pyramids rose in the Egyptian desert, we were watching you. When Caesar burned the library at Alexandria, we were watching you. When you crucified that first-century Jewish peasant, we were watching. When Columbus set foot in the New World...when you fought a war to free millions of your fellow humans from bondage...when you learned how to split the atom...when you first ventured beyond your atmosphere...What were we doing?"--quotation from The 5th Wave

Why, Mr. Alien, you were watching us and twiddling your symbolic alien mustache of course! Yet that six thousand years of creeping on humanity doesn't seem to have done you much good. Since your plan to kill the Earthlings and take possession of the planet (if that even IS your plan--unfortunately, Rick Yancey has left your intentions vague), well, that plan kind of sucked.

Yancey's alien species has decided to destroy humanity in waves--1st wave, 2nd wave, 3rd wave, 4th wave. Almost 7 billion humans, dead. Now it's the 5th wave, a wave that will challenge what it means to be human. Here's my question, though: if the aliens are oh-so-smart thanks to millions of years of evolution and as evinced by their fancy mothership, why are they killing humanity in waves? Why are they reverting to methods that allow plucky teenagers to fight back? Why can't they simply exterminate all humans in a single blow?

...I don't know if there are any answers to those questions, so my first issue with The 5th Wave is a basic logic fail. Sorry, but I do not accept these premises!

Considering the 7 billion death toll, the aliens are deadly, but to me, they were never scary.
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