Photo courtesy of Sony
Photo courtesy of Sony
Photo courtesy of Sony


The 5th Wave is a popular young adult novel series adapted into a film which theatres Jan. 22. The novels, written by Rick Yancey, tell the story of a teenaged Cassie Sullivan (played by Chloë Moretz). Five waves of destruction hit the planet earth all while Cassie is on the search for her younger brother. It is a story about survival, family, and the fate of the earth.

Success was met almost instantly for the book series. Yancey said before he finished writing the book, his rights for the film were already bought, but he didn’t realize at first just how well his book was going to do.

Although many young adult series are set in dystopian settings, or we are seeing many similar movies with these brave heroines like The Hunger Games and Divergent franchises, Yancey assures us that The 5th Wave isn’t similar to other books of similar genres.

Yancey states that what he believes is a huge factor that separates his novel from the others is that Cassie’s story is very much the story of an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances. Although the story focuses on a situation of the extremes of aliens coming to take over the planet, in an interview with Yancey, he says that many teenagers can relate to the message.

He said he was first inspired by the almost global financial crash crisis in 2008 and said some of the inspiration came from that. Yancey said he had already been writing in the young adult genre and it dawned on him how this transition fit so well from childhood to adulthood – it is kind of abrupt and it can be scary. He says another huge theme in the book is how the protagonist relates to having to navigate through this world they are unfamiliar with.

An interesting part of the story was to have the main protagonist be a female. Yancey states that as a writer he is always trying to find ways to escape the boredom of writing similar stories, and he says his big inspiration for Cassie came from his own wife while writing the character.

While he said qualities ascribed more closely to males are aggressiveness, physicality,  things that are more traditionally ascribed to females is “the nurturing part of human nature, the part that’s about preserving, protecting, defending, and what is ultimately stronger. It’s probable that the feminine force will ultimately save us.”

Although the story has extreme settings, there is still something hauntingly realistic about the circumstances. The waves of destruction like disease and cutting our communication to one another, along with natural disaster are things that can actually happen.

It is a story about survival and looking out for one another, ultimately reacting to things and learning to deal with situations as the arise in our lives.

The 5th Wave is a trilogy series with the last book set to be released later this year. Yancey comments that he isn’t sure what he has lined up next after he finishes this series. He says he still has some ideas and plans to write more young adult novels with the same cinematic visual appeal that his book holds.