The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

Information: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy was published in 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0399162410

Plot Summary: The 5th Wave is about the five waves of attacks that occur after mysterious aliens appear in view from the Earth’s surface. The story begins with Cassie, a sixteen year old, on the search for her younger brother in the middle of the 5th wave. Cassie is looking for him after they got separated during a military emergency evacuation. Cassie believes she is one of the last few surviving humans that haven’t been infiltrated by the aliens, until she meets Ev512and8xm0l-_sx331_bo1204203200_an Walker. Forced to take shelter from him, Cassie has to learn to trust someone other than herself. But after seeing so many friends and family murdered and strangers overtaken by the aliens, Cassie has to decide if Evan is really trustworthy and if he is worth rescuing her little brother.

Critical Evaluation: The 5th Wave is a creative take on alien invasions. Yancey offers multiple points of view from varying chapters that deepens the mystery of why the aliens are there and what the real purpose of the waves are. The different points of view also give readers a great inside look at the bond of family between Cassie and her little brother. By starting at the 5th wave and working through Cassie’s memories as flashbacks, the novel builds a strong connection between Cassie and the reader.

Reader’s Annotation: After aliens appear on Earth, Cassie is sure she is one of the last people on Earth as she searches for her little brother. But, after meeting Evan Walker, Cassie must decide if he is worth trusting to save her little brother.

Author’s Information: Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida (Goodreads).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  • The novel is centered around Cassie’s promise to her little brother. Are promises usually so sacred and unbreakable?
  • There are several relationships in the novel. Is there a relationship that’s most important? Why or why not?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 9-12 (Scholastic) and Ages 14-18

Challenge Issues: Language, Violence

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  


Yancey, R. (2013). The 5th Wave. New York, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. The 5th Wave was published for high school students as a way to explore a possible alien invasion. The novel highlights the determination and bond of family and friends through extreme situations. The character Cassie is a classic female hero for teens to relate and look up to. She represents the importance of keeping promises and unwavering dedication to family and friends. Other recommendations like this book include: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, and The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree 


  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2013)
  • Georgia Peach Book Award Nominee for Honor book (2014)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2015)

Reconsideration Form


Selection Tools

Why I chose this book:

I chose The 5th Wave for its compelling movement forward through a really well used storyline, like an alien invasion. Cassie is an inspiring character with dedication and determination to do right by her family.


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