The 5th Wave


Title:   The 5th Wave

Author:  Rick Yancey

Publisher: Putnam Pub Group, 2015

ISBN: 9781101996515

 About the author: from

Richard “Rick” Yancey is an American author who has gained acclaim for his works of suspense, fantasy, and science fiction aimed at young adults. Yancey was born in Miami, Florida.

Yancey wrote his first short story in the seventh grade while attending Crystal Lake Junior High School in Florida. After graduating from Lakeland Senior High School, he was accepted to Florida Southern College and majored in Communications. After a year at Florida Southern College, Yancey transferred to Florida State University and ultimately graduated from Roosevelt University with a B.A. in English. After graduation, Yancey planned on attending law school.

Ultimately, Yancey decided against law school and began teaching English classes as well as acting and directing in local community theatres. In 1991, Yancey applied for a government job and was hired by the Internal Revenue Service, where he worked as an agent for twelve years.

While at the IRS, Yancey met his wife Sandy and started a family. They currently reside in his native state of Florida, raising their youngest son, Jake.

Plot: It’s an invasion, and Cassie’s mom didn’t survive the fourth wave– disease? pestilence? Every since the first wave, there has been no light, the electricity is gone. Now, Cassie is fighting for her life. She finds herself shot, bleeding under a disabled car. They’re all disabled now. Then she loses consciousness. She wakes up in Evan Walker’s house. Who is Evan Walker, and now that the silent invasion is taking hold, can she even trust him? Is Evan a silencer?

Critical Evaluation: 

The 5th Wave is a fast-paced, action-packed novel. Protagonist Cassie Sullivan is a survivor and a spunky, sarcastic, and strong female character. Since most things are unknown in this new world, she has to put her trust in Evan, despite the possible danger and uncertainty that he brings into her life. Overall, this story is bleak, scary, and dramatic. This fast-paced novel was action-packed, and I could not put it down.

Evan is a complex, courageous and likeable character. When Evan and Cassie meet under unusual circumstances, we don’t know who he is. But we’re almost certain he’s not there to hurt Cassie. Why would he nurse her back to health if he wanted to turn around and harm her?

This apocalyptic-style story is a suspenseful read. The frightening possibilities are unimaginable, and I was extremely sympathetic to Cassie’s character. Her mom and dad are dead, and her brother is missing. Cassie’s love for her brother and the subsequent search for him is emotionally intense and highly dramatic. Much of the book is devoted to the unknown.

The overall theme of this book is that humans are resilient and strong. These human traits are an advantage that aliens are incapable of having. Rick Yancey takes a very creepy situation and makes it even creepier. Reading it, I found myself looking over my shoulder, and to the skies. Combining science fiction with a dystopian feel, he combines part freak show and part twilight zone to come up with this disturbing tale of doom. Yancey’s novel is as compelling and attention-grabbing as they come. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.



Reader’s Annotation: Don’t trust a silencer. What does a silencer look like? Like you.

Genre: dystopian, apocalyptic fiction, science fiction

Curriculum Ties: creative writing

Booktalking Ideas: Why does Cassie carry Sammy’s bear with her throughout the novel? What might the bear symbolize?

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+

Challenge Issues: violence

Challenge Resources 

  • Library Selection Policy
  • Rationale explaining why the item was chosen for the collection
  • Active listening skills
  • Awards
  • Reconsideration form (as a last resort)
  • National Council of Teachers of English “Right to Read”
  • Positive and negative reviews: expert, parent, student
  • ALA Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials
  • ALA Bill of Rights on Intellectual Freedom
  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Why did you pick this for your collection?  

  • Gateway Readers Award (Missouri)
  • Iowa High School Book Award
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award (Pennsylvania): High School level
  • Library Journal Best YA Lit for Adults
  • Sequoyah Book Awards (Oklahoma): High School Books
  • South Carolina Book Awards: Young Adult Books
  • Westchester Fiction Award (California)
  • YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2014
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Post-Apocalyptic: It’s the  End of the  World As We Know It (2016)
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: Fiction: 2014
  • Young Reader’s Choice Award (Pacific Northwest): Intermediate