The 5th Wave Essay

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Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is perhaps the young adult novel of the season. It’s been accompanied by a massive promotional push, with what seems like every Barnes & Noble in the world pushing it as the inevitable successor to Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games. And unlike 2012’s event YA book—John Green’s justly acclaimed The Fault In Our Stars—The 5th Wave has a premise that promises at least two more books to come: There are aliens, and there is a girl, and Earth has been invaded. What next? Truth be told, there’s something almost calculated about The 5th Wave, even when it’s at its best. Yancey is a good writer and a fantastic plotter, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d been kicking around this idea in his head for many years. But with…show more content…
Fortunately, Cassie and Ben are pleasant enough company to spend time inside their heads. (Well, Cassie gets close to being too stereotypical in some sections, losing some of her prickly shading, particularly in the early going.) This makes the book more or less painless and easy to read, even when it seems like Yancey’s building to a couple of twists that will be the opposite of big reveals for most readers. Also, Yancey does a good enough job messing with readers’ heads in the Ben storyline, especially, that there are a few places where I wondered if I might have misjudged the whole thing—if the military men, who seemed to have a solid enough explanation for their odd behavior, really were using scavenged alien technology to root out traitors who only looked like humans. There’s less ambiguity in the Evan storyline, but it also seems possible that Yancey intends a lot of this, as when Evan cries out, “You saved me!” after having maybe-sex with Cassie—it sure seems like sex, but later Cassie says no boy has ever seen her naked, and, well—and Cassie just doesn’t get what he’s talking

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