YA Summer: They’re coming for us. In waves
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Putnam Juvenile, $18.99)
Rick Yancey’s apocalyptic invasion of the alien body-snatchers epic benefits a great deal from having been read after Stung, in that his annoying teenage girl, Cassie, is not nearly as annoying as she could be. For openers, she’s a bit more self-actualized, and even though there’s a sappy teen love story involved, at least this one has a kind-of-a-triangle to spice it up (though Peeta-Katniss-Gale, it’s not). The love stuff also suffers from what might be called the “Twilight” effect—it happens too fast—but apparently, teens expect that.
Here’s the scoop: The aliens showed up, and just as Stephen Hawking predicted, things are turning out about as well for us as they did for the Native Americans when Columbus landed.
First, there’s the EMP pulse that threw us back to the Iron Age. It was followed by a second wave that was a literal wave: the aliens set of a huge earthquake that was followed by an even huger tsunami. And in the third wave, a new avian flu plague killed of mega-loads of people. The fourth wave was aliens in human bodies, down here causing trouble. What’s the fifth wave going to bring?
The alternating points of view are a little difficult to follow, but—as we all learned from the A Song of Ice and Fire series—it’s a neat trick to keep the action flowing. Lots of violence and trauma, so keep this out of the tweens’ hands (unless they’re mature enough to handle it), but this is a delightful romp through the end of the world as Yancey pulls in every alien invasion and apocalypse trope he can think of and twists it a bit.