There have been so many dystopian books that it is hard to imagine a "fresh take." Yancey has managed to create something that feels fresh within the sub-genre and is compelling. As soon as I finished this book I put a reserve on the next title in the series.
This particular dystopia is created when an interstellar spaceship arrives above earth and circles for a bit and then begins a wave of invasions. Their goal is simply to get rid of humanity. And they are doing it in extremely clever ways. Yancy's book pulls you into and through the story with a narrative and a voice that help you forget that this is the latest is a long series of "end of the world as we know it" books, movies, and tv series.
I've read many of Yancey's other books (The Monstrumologist series and
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp). I look forward to the next book in the series and his future novels. He's definitely on my "alert" list as new titles come out.
The "readability" on this title is late 4th grade with an interest level of 7th-12th grades. It is a perfect choice for an older teen who has relatively undeveloped reading skills. I do worry a bit about what our young teens are reading. I'd have a little trouble recommending it for 7th and 8th graders. But then perhaps I am naive. I know they watch Walking Dead. This dystopian novel is not quite as obviously bloody and has more positive messages for young adults. At times as I was reading it felt like an adult book. Not because of any particular content but because of the literary merit. At one point I actually double checked the age designation.
The book has been given many awards including:
Winner of the 2014 Red House Children's Book Award
2014 Children’s Choice Book Awards Finalist for Teen Book of the Year
A YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
A YALSA 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers
A Booklist 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
A VOYA 2013 Perfect Ten
The Fifth Wave is being translated into film to be released in May.