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12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hyped-Up 5th Wave Just Okay for Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The Others have invaded Earth in four devastating waves of destruction.  Unlike 97% of Earth's population, 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan has managed to survive all of them.  Her parents were not so lucky.  Alone and terrified, she's making her careful way toward Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where she hopes to find her 5-year-old brother, Sammy.  With only an M16 and her own wits to keep her alive, Cassie must evade the Silencers that roam the destroyed landscape.  These "sleeper agents" look just like humans, but they're not people and they're certainly not friendly.  Therefore, she can't trust anyone.  No matter how benign they might appear.  

Evan Walker looks like your average 17-year-old boy.  He's not.  Even he doesn't understand why he takes the risk of rescuing Cassie Sullivan, but he does.  She doesn't want to trust him.  She shouldn't trust him.  But maybe the two can help each other navigate the dangerous world in which they now live.

In another world, "Zombie" was an average teenager, too.  Now, he's a soldier, training to stop the aliens and whatever horrors their 5th wave might unleash.  His recruits are a pathetic bunch, scared children even younger than Zombie.  Among them is a tiny 5-year-old boy, whom Zombie must teach to kill or be killed.

The fates of these three teenagers intersect in the strange, post-apocalyptic land that has become their new normal.  As they fight to save themselves and their world, they will learn some shocking truths about each other.  Despite their differences, they will have to come together to defeat an enemy bent on annihilating them once and for all.

Even though I've read about a million YA post-apocalyptic novels, many of which are unoriginal copycats, I'm still intrigued by this genre.  When I received an ARC of The 5th Wave, the first book in Rick Yancey's popular alien invasion series, a couple years ago, I naturally wanted to read it.  It took me awhile, but I finally got to it.  What did I think?  Although the book starts slow, it's got plenty of action which kept me turning pages.  The characters and plot offered nothing really new or original and there were few surprises I didn't see coming.  Considering all the hype that has surrounded this book since its publication, I expected it to knock my socks off and ... it really didn't.  It's an engrossing book, yes, but not an exceptional one.  Eventually, I'll get around to reading the sequels and seeing the movie—I'm just not in any big rush.  As you can tell, in the end, The 5th Wave was just an okay read for me.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a lot of the Partials series [Partials; Fragments; Ruins] by Dan Wells)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The 5th Wave from the generous folks at Putnam (a division of Penguin).  Thank you!

Emotional Me Before You Impossible to Get Out Of Your Heart and Mind

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

At 26, Louisa "Lou" Clark is more or less content with her life.  She has a steady job she enjoys, a long-time boyfriend with whom she's comfortable, and a close family that drives her crazy but provides her with a stable, loving home.  Everything is fine until the owner of the café where Lou works unexpectedly decides to close his business and move.  Money is tight at home; Lou can't afford not to work.  Try as she might, however, she can't find gainful employment in her tiny English village.  

At the end of her rope, Lou interviews for a job as a caregiver to a young, quadriplegic man.  Although she has no experience, her bright personality and positive attitude win her the position.  After all, Will Traynor already has a personal trainer to help him with his physical difficulties—what he needs (according to his mother, anyway) is someone to lift his spirits, to improve his emotional well-being.  Lou isn't one to back away from a challenge, but when she meets the acerbic Will, she's tempted to quit on the spot.  At first, it's only the obscene amount of money she's being paid that keeps Lou coming back.  Gradually, however, she comes to understand and care for moody Will.

When Lou makes a shocking discovery, she launches a desperate plan to show Will that life is worth living.  As she blunders along, she makes myriad mistakes, costly errors that only reinforce Will's view of his life as pointless.  Can Lou convince him he's wrong?  Can she prove to him how meaningful his existence can be?  Will her love be enough to save him?  

Despite all the rave reviews I'd seen for Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, it took me a long time to actually get to this novel.  I don't know why, since the story grabbed me right from the beginning and still hasn't quite loosened its hold.  It's a heart-wrenching tale (I bawled through the last 1/4 of the book), but one that is oddly life-affirming.  For a story that deals with very serious subjects, it's also surprisingly funny and tender.  Me Before You is one of those books that makes you think about things in a new way, making it a perfect book club read.  Even though the ending made me mad, I loved this book.  It's an emotional roller coaster ride that I still can't get out of my heart and mind.  I recommend you read it with a box of tissues standing by—trust me, you'll need it.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of One Plus One by Jojo Moyes and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, sexual content, and brief references to the use of illegal drugs

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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