The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

4/5 Stars
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group
Published May 7, 2013

Synopsis: After the 1st wave, only darkness remained. After the 2nd, only the lucky escaped. After the 3rd, only the unlucky survived. After the 4th wave, only one rule still replies: trust no one. 

Now it is the dawn of the 5th wave and Cassie Sullivan is running for her life. Running away from Them, the beings who only look human, but are determined to exterminate anyone that graces the countryside. The only way to stay alive, Cassie believes, is to stay alone. That is, until, she meets Evan Walker. Evan, beguiling and mysterious, may be Cassie's only chance of saving her brother. Cassie must choose between trust and despair, defiance and surrender, life and death. 

I have one word for this book and that's wow. Rick Yancey really surprised me with this one. He was able to make this apocalyptic alien invasion seem real to me. In comparison with everyday world disasters, Yancey is able to make an alien invasion seem just as realistic. 

This novel begins with the introduction of the main character Cassie Sullivan. Cassie's got a lot of luck, sure, but she is also brave and daring, which I'm sure plays a huge role in why she is still alive. When asked the question "who would you want by your side during a zombie apocalypse," I would choose Cassiopeia Sullivan immediately. She has a fierce determination that just makes you want to root for her success. At the beginning of the novel, we explore her past - basically what happened from the 1st wave onwards. We learn about her family, her relationships with peers, and what's keeping her from going insane. That beacon of hope is her little brother Sammy. Throughout the book we watch her grow from a naive teenage girl, to a girl who is strong and independent.

Now finally I have two words to say to you. Well, more like a name, and that name is Evan Walker. Evan is, at this point, my favorite character in this book. He is strong, yet sweet, and very protective over Cassie. I admire his character for being so ebullient during this time of distress; he is like a ray of light in all of this darkness. 

There was a lot of powerful writing that into establishing this plot. Even from the beginning of the story I felt the pain that was evident in everyone's lives. Families were literally torn apart in the cruelest of ways and the unlucky ones left behind had to endure the remaining days. This sentimental writing helped me connect with these characters on an emotional level.  I felt every bit of emotion with every thought that went through Ben Parish's head, every word that came out of Cassie's mouth, and every last ounce of hope Sammy held onto.

The one thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that it was told in alternating point of views. I loved being able to see how the story is told from different characters and how the plot of each character begins to entwine until it's one huge storyline. Each point of view was distinct and had a clear voice, which also helped to really establish certain characters. For example, Sammy is with Cassie and Ben at different points in the story, so it's nice to hear what they both think of him. This helps establish a personality for said character. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the characters and their minds, I thought it was a great way to move the plot forward.

Rick Yancey did an amazing job exploring two themes in this story --- the fear of being alone and trust. This is what makes the book such a compelling read. It is so dark and very despairing, yet that is what makes it so real. Kudos to you, Rick Yancey, I can't wait to start The Infinite Sea.