Welcome to our new feature, Unputdownable — a category we’ll be exploring any time we read a book that we figuratively couldn’t put down, even though our husbands and children and chores and jobs may have required us to abandon it from time to time. Don’t expect full-length reviews or anything too spoilery, just a quick cheer for a book that we stayed up way too late reading and probably immediately re-read, because that’s what you do with an addictive book. Our inaugural “Unputdownable” book is “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey.
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
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.
With so many dystopian novels in YA, I wasn’t initially convinced to read this book, but it has been sitting on my TBR pile since Penguin sent it to me in preparation for a story I wrote about upcoming YA adaptations. I didn’t have time to read the book before I filed the piece, but when I saw the universally glowing reviews on Goodreads, I couldn’t resist. I cracked my ARC open on Monday night, stayed up until 3:15 and then finished it Tuesday mid-morning, while the kids were streaming a video on Netflix.
Here are my immediate thoughts: Pre-order it now! It’s “Hunger Games” good with a kick-ass heroine Cassie (for Cassiopeia not anything as mundane as Cassidy or Cassandra), a thoroughly believable and expertly described basis for our mass destruction, and such richly drawn characters you will weep openly for them.
Cassie is 16-year-old Ohioan and has lost everything and everyone she’s ever loved except for her 5-year-old little brother Sammy. Even though Sammy may or may not be alive, getting to him is Cassie’s only — only — priority. To do so, she must survive day by day while mistrusting anyone who comes near her. See, in this alien invasion very few people have survived. It took three waves — 1. Light’s Out 2. Surf’s Up 3. Pestilence — to winnow down the world to about 3% of the population, and the 4th wave — the Silencers (trained assassins who kill, kill, kill) who are roaming about annihilating what’s left of humanity — is taking care of the rest. Then there’s the 5th wave, which no one knows about but is the most horrifying one of all.
Cassie, like Katniss, has a sibling to save and protect. Unlike Katniss there’s no best friend, no District full of people who love and admire her. She’s a bit like Tris too, with a petite body that belies her capacity to survive and her killer instincts. But never mind my comparisons, because Cassie’s not really like any other female character in YA. She’s jaded and sarcastic and completely unable to trust (how can she, when ANYONE can be an alien in disguise, ready to wipe you off the face of the planet). There is definitely romance (and a parallel storyline following Cassie’s secret high-school crush Ben Parish, who’s off becoming a soldier), and it’s intense and complicated (just the way I like it).
By the time I finished the book, I was ready to re-read it, and now that I’m done (for the second time), I can’t wait for Yancey’s sequel. Like “The Knife of Never Letting Go” — this isn’t easy to read, but man is it amazing.