Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Read ‘The 5th Wave’

Instead of doing the usual review for Rick Yancey’s epic new book, The 5th Wave, I decided to write a Top 10 list of reasons as to why you should read it. I would do Top 10 lists more often in place of positive reviews, but it’s a rarity for me to be able to come up with a whole ten reasons to read a certain book. Coming up with this list wasn’t hard at all since The 5th Wave is one of the best new books out there right now.

the 5th wave coverHere’s the official description of The 5th Wave to provide some context to my Top 10 list below:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Read The 5th Wave

the 5th wave banner girl

1. We experience the story through multiple characters’ perspectives.

The description led me to believe that this was just Cassie’s story, so obviously I was bit confused and then surprised when I moved on to Part 2 that I was reading another character’s point of view. The multiple POVs really give the story and this post-apocalyptic world a wider scope. It also makes the story infinitely more intriguing; we don’t just get into human survivors’ heads, but maybe even an alien as well. In the end, Cassie is still the main lead, but getting other character’s points of view made it all the more fascinating.

2. Sick of the zombie epidemic on pop culture? This alien invasion story is the cure!

I’ll be honest. I loved zombies and was intrigued with the mythology and human survival aspect of zombies stories, but it has been done to death. (Pun intended.) It’s boring now; they’re just brainless flesh-eating monsters. Which makes me think… what if we were up against something that wasn’t brainless, but something or someone who is infinitely smarter than us? Well, The 5th Wave totally delivers on that, giving us a villain that is a worthy adversary.

3. The story relatively takes place in the present.

A lot of YA science fiction either takes place far off into the future or in a world different than our own. Not to dismiss those types of settings, but it kind of breaks an extra connection we could’ve had with the story. The 5th Wave takes place in the present, or maybe a few months from now, and that’s what makes it so terrifying. We see what an alien invasion could do to us, like to me, you and everyone else living in the world. It’s hard to read this book and not imagine this kind of invasion happening to us now. This leads to the next reason…

4. It will make you so scared and paranoid that you’ll start preparing for an invasion.


This book frightened me. After all these years of worrying about a zombie apocalypse, I should’ve been worried about alien invasions. The author creates terrifyingly real world scenarios with this sci-fi story. As unbelievable as it may seem, it definitely feels plausible. The characters’ reactions to these events are eerily similar to our own—or at least my own. So if we ever do get hostilely invaded by extraterrestrials, at least reading The 5th Wave prepared you.  (And I’d just like to take this moment to thank Penguin for sending me The 5th Wave pack with a survival kit. You have no idea how much peace of mind that gives me now.)

5. The story focuses on the human condition.

What truly makes The 5th Wave outstanding is what it says about the human condition. We meet these set of characters that experience this invasion in different ways, and it’s amazing to see how they cope with it. It’s as much an emotional journey as an action packed one. With everything that is frightening going on in this book, the power of these characters and their humanity leaves us feeling hopeful.

Rick_Yancey_20106. It’s well-written!

Seems like a simple reason, but I’ve read good stories that I wished were written in more captivating prose. I haven’t read any of his other books, but it was clear from the start of this book that Rick Yancey is a great writer.

7. It has short chapters!

Another simple reason, but it really astounds me how the length of chapters can really help a reading experience. I find that I prefer short chapters; it keeps things interesting and moving. I often find that pacing is much better with chapters that aren’t very long. That’s definitely the case for The 5th Wave. I found myself saying “one more little chapter” over and over again until I realized I finished the book and noticed it was three in the morning.

8. One of the love interests looks like a younger version of the Brawny man.

There’s romance! Some of you might groan, some of you will squeal with glee. I personally love romance, so I was happy to see a good dose of it incorporated into the story without overwhelming it. Sure, you saw this romance coming, but it was still very sweet and was an interesting contributor to Reason #5 about the human condition. It also helps that the dude is described to look like the Brawny man. (Hot guys are always a plus in my book.)

9. Cassie is a kickass lead character who is actually relatable.

As much as I love The Hunger Games and other YA book with kickass leads, I find them some of them unrelatable to a degree. Yes, they’re likable, but I can’t find much in common with them. Cassie is a different story. She was just a normal teen girl before all this craziness went down. While the past events have changed her, she still perceives some things the way the old Cassie did. She’s not just stoic kickass-ing machine that is too wise beyond her years. Readers will be able to see parts of themselves in Cassie and the other characters.

10. It’s being touted as the next Hunger Games.

I usually don’t like calling something “the Next Whatever,” but if that’s what gets people to take notice, here you go. The 5th Wave is the kind of book that has the capacity to captivate millions of readers. It is just so good and deserves the level of fame and attention that books like The Hunger Games have received. On an extra note, Sony Pictures optioned the film rights for The 5th Wave, so if it proves to be popular enough… we get a MOVIE!!

Hopefully these ten reasons convince you to check out the first book in Rick Yancey’s epic new series. It’s amazing, and if you don’t read it, you’ll seriously be missing out.

Review Rating: 10/10

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is now available wherever books are sold. Support The Young Folks and purchase it at our TYF Store, powered by Amazon.

Book Info:

Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons (May 7, 2013)
Length: 480 pages (Hardcover)
Series: The 5th Wave – Book 1 of 3
Source: ARC (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Survival, Romance, Action
Completed: May 2013

Gabrielle is 27 years old and lives in Chicago. She enjoys writing about film, TV, and books, but occasionally writes about music as well. In addition to writing for, she also the editor-in-chief and a co-founder. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies and shows or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to… Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions.