Exciting End To The 5th Wave Trilogy.



Book Three in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series is full of action.  The fast moving story ties up some things while leaving room for readers to speculate what happens next and fan theories to grow.  Cassi, Zombie, Ringer, Megan and Sam are trying to get Evan back.  He has been taken by the human/aliens for reprogramming.  We learn more about the silencers and who they are as the team comes in contact with them.  The book is also largely about the evolution of Ringer as a character.  She has the alien technology in her but she can how use it to help the humans instead of hurt them.  Cassi also has an important role to play in saving what is left of humanity.  The book is very fast paced and exciting. But in the mist of all the action, the characters are still able to reflect on what it means to be alive in this war zone.  The idea is interesting that the aliens might see us as bugs that need to be exterminated.  We do not usually feel bad if we wipe out a colony of ants or cockroaches.  That gave me a lot to think about.  Fans of the first two books will love this.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Cassi says she is having more cravings than a pregnant woman.  If you were a survivor during the apocalypse, what would you crave the most?

Discuss what losing your ABCs would mean.

Discuss the relationship between Cassi and Evan.  How he feeds her when she is hungry but it is very complex.

Discuss this passage, “The world used to contain two Bens, the real Ben who didn’t know I existed, and the imaginary Ben, who feds me popcorn with buttery fingers.  Now there were three.” pp. 33

Discuss this passage, “Our true selves shimmered like a desert mirage forever receding into the distance.” pp. 34.

Discuss what it would mean to destroy culture.

Discuss Ringer’s bombshell.

During the book, did you think aliens were real or are the humans behind this?

What do you think will happen next with the survivors?  Where do they go from here?

Strong New Characters And Plot Twists In Book 2 Of The 5th Wave Series.

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The book opens with a terrifying scene where the alien’s latest plan catches a group of humans unaware, using the most innocent as a weapon.  Cassie, her brother and her crew have escaped the aliens with the help of Evan Walker.   They are now holed up in an abandoned hotel.  Evan made his escape as well.  But he is found by someone he would rather not see, another alien posing as a human he knows all too well.  Badly injured, he has to get away from Grace, the other alien who suspects he might be a traitor and get back to Cassie.  Evan’s relationship with Grace is one of the more interesting aspects of the book.  They both realized what they really were when they met at a fair.  The two knew what was to come and had a strange sort of relationship which made them both feel less alone.  This middle book in the trilogy examines how love for another can make a person vulnerable. I think this is the main theme of book 2.   We see it over and over again between Teacup, Razor and Ringer, who is a main character in this story.  Ringer is captured and Vosch tries to “change” her to become more like them.  This process is very interesting and is a large chunk of the book.  The element of risk on the alien’s part is another strong theme in the book.  Then a huge plot bomb is dropped that could change everything we know so far.  The Infinite Sea was a very satisfying read.  I can’t wait for the conclusion!


Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss the opening scene and what that predicts for the rest of the book.

Talk about Zombie and Ringers conversation about things getting back to normal when there is a tardy bell.  pg. 6

Discuss when Ringer says to herself, “I don’t panic.  I don’t bolt like a frightened gazelle.  I am more than the sum of my fear.”  pg. 15

Discuss Evan’s relationship with Grace.  How are they different?  How do they view humanity differently?

Discuss Poundcake’s back story.

How has Sam changed since The 5th Wave?

Discuss Ringer’s transformation and her relationship with Razor.

Discuss this passage about Ringer: “After my father died, I built a fortress safe and strong to last a thousand years.  A mighty stronghold that crumbles with a kiss.” pg. 276

Discuss Vincit qui patitur.

Discuss the riddle of the rocks.

Discuss this passage about love.  Ringer: “Love is the only thing in the universe that’s unpredictable.”  Vosch: “Love’s trajectory is entirely predictable.”

Why do you think Vosch does what he does now that you know the truth about what he really is?





After Seeing Divergent The Movie And Reading Four, I Gave Allegiant Another Chance.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)I’ll admit, I did not like this book the first time I tried to read it.  I loved the first book and enjoyed the second book.  I did not remember the characters besides Tris and Four and was confused about who Caleb, Christina and Peter were since it has been a year since reading Insurgent.  Since then, I’ve read Four, which I loved and saw the movie.  With the characters fresh in my mind I decided to give Insurgent and Allegient another go.  I am glad I did.  I enjoyed both books and found the ending satisfying.  I know many found the ending controversial, but I am glad some authors are not afraid to get a little George R. R. Martin from time to time.  Allegiant tackles the idea that some people are genetically pure while others are damaged.  People cannot help being violent, or less intelligent.  I was pleased to find out there was much more to Tris’s mother and would have loved to know more.  Maybe an ebook short on her story??? We find out who is controlling the faction experiment and watch Tobias and Tris battle their own demons to stay together.  The ending does seem a little cruel in that regard.  But it helps Tobias continue to evolve as a character.  I was able to keep the different POV chapters straight this time.  I enjoyed Tobias’s point of view in the book, Four, and was ready to get more of it. I enjoyed the complexity of Tris and Four as characters.  While not as strong as The Hunger Games trilogy in world building, I still enjoyed the series very much.  I am looking forward to the movie versions of both Insurgent and Allegiant.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss when Nita says, “The people fighting it now probably fight because they have been taught that it is a problem.”  pg. 252

Discuss Tris’s relationship with her brother, Caleb.

How did Four’s feelings about himself change when he found out he was not Divergent.

Discuss Tris’s reaction to her mother’s past.

What are your opinions of Peter and Christina as characters?

Discuss Tris’s parent’s decision to join Abnegation together.

Discuss when Christina says, “Don’t get me wrong, I like to laugh, but I also want a relationship to mean something.” pg. 255

Discuss when Tris and Christina compare their ways of thinking with Abnegation and Candor.  Tris says, “Maybe it’s not so important to escape them (the factions.)” pg. 257

Discuss when Tris’s mother said there was evil in everyone, and the first step to loving someone else is to recognize that evil in ourselves, so we can forgive them.

Discuss when Tris says she chooses Tobias over and over again. pg. 372

Discuss Tobias’s decision about the memory serum.  What would you do?

Discuss “We can be mended.  We mend each other.” pg. 526


Great Book For Divergent Readers Suffering From Withdrawl

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)I love a good retelling of a story from a different view.  I wasn’t crazy about the Divergent series.  I loved book one and it went downhill from there.  Four was my favorite character and I was happy to get a chance to hear the story from his perspective.  The story starts while he is still in Abnegation as he takes the aptitude test that will tell him which faction he should choose at the upcoming ceremony.  If you’ve read the series you already know he chooses Dauntless.  However, the events leading up to that decision are new.  We see how terrified he is of Marcus, his abusive father.  Four looks at each of the factions during the choosing ceremony to make his decision sort of on the fly, rationalizing how he would do in each faction before settling on Dauntless.   The stories are divided into sections with Tris making an appearance in the later ones.  It is a quick read and one that will only make sense if you have read the first book at least.  It makes me want to give book three another try.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

What would your fear landscape look like?  Discuss your top four fears.  How could you confront them?

Discuss how Tobais rationalizes his decisions about how he would fit in each faction before choosing Dauntless. Where would you fit in?

Discuss how Tobais took on his new name quickly.  What new name would you want?  How does taking this name change him?

Discuss this passage, “I left that place our of fear and defiance, and that will make it harder to assimilate than anyone knows, harder than if I had actually chosen Dauntless for the right reason. (pg. 133)

Discuss his reaction to his mother.  What would you do if you were in his shoes?

Do you look at Tris any differently after seeing her from Four’s point of view?


The 5th Wave Is One Of The Best Books Of 2013!

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)

I heard a great deal of buzz about this book and am happy to say it surpassed my expectations!  This is an excellent read for fans of The Hunger Games trilogy. The story begins with Cassie in the woods.  She is alone.  It is quiet… too quiet.  The setting reminds me of The Walking Dead.  Everyone she loves is dead or missing.  She wonders if she is the last human on earth and the quiet is so intense that she feels she can hear the stars scraping together.  Aliens who wait in a ship floating serenely in the atmosphere have killed most of mankind in a series of waves which included turning off all electricity and a plague that killed 97% of the population.  Those who survived are hunted by stealth killers called silencers.  Will there be a 5th wave?  What do the aliens have planned next.  You would think Cassie would just give up.  But she needs to find her little brother and that keeps her going.  This book is told in different sections with different points of view.  The storytelling grabbed me immediately and I hated to put it down.  The aliens could be anywhere.  We have no idea what they look like.  They could look human but no one is sure.  The humans can only assume they are being wiped out so the aliens can move in.  We hear points of view from Cassie, her little brother Sammy, a boy she knew in high school who is now a soldier and a man who may or may not be entirely human.  This book has it all, action, survival and some romance.  There is something for everyone here.  I am thrilled it is a series because I miss the characters and want to know more.

Ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss page 51 where Cassie talks about how her dad “pushed back against the darkness.”

Which books would you keep with you if you could only take two?

What would you keep in you backpack?

What would you have done at the beginning of the book when Cassie killed the man in the store and found out he only had a crucifix in his hand?

Discuss the Mayfly chapter and what happens between Cassie and Evan.

Discuss when Tank said, “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.  Only the strong survive.” (pg 237)

Discuss when Evan said, “you can’t make yourself believe anything.  But you can let yourself believe.  You can allow yourself to trust.” (pg 280)

Discuss when Zombie (Ben) said, “By killing us, they showed us the idiocy of stuff.  The guy who owned this BMW?  He’s in the same place as the woman who owned the Kia.”

Discuss when Cassie sees Ben again for the first time.

Discuss this passage, “The world holds its breath, because there’s really no guarantee that the sun will rise.  That there was a yesterday doesn’t mean there will be a tomorrow.” (pg 456)

Great Ending For Across The Universe Trilogy


Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)The final book in Beth Revis’ Across The Universe Trilogy starts with Amy and Elder preparing to land on the planet.  There are plenty of shipborns and frozens on board.  As soon as they land the unfreezing process begins and Amy is excited to be reunited with her parents.  Her father is now in charge and this leads to a power struggle with Elder.  Very quickly we get a glimpse of the monsters that Orion warns about and they are terrifying.  When the ship shuts itself down with the supplies inside they have to figure out how to survive until they can get it back open.  Orion is also thawing while the ship is in shut down mode.  Then people start disappearing and bodies are found.  Phydus is at play,  but where is it coming from?  We learn that this landing party wasn’t the first one, and there is much more to this new Centuri-Earth.  Secrets are revealed and who the enemy is becomes unclear very quickly.  Amy wonders if she should trust her own father and if there is truth to Orion’s belief that the shipborns will be either slaves or soldiers.  It brings up interesting questions about people on the planet being used for profit and what was the real reason for the mission.  There is also an interesting Jurassic Park element.    The frozens have dark secrets of their own, including Amy’s parents.  This book is a fast and exciting read.

Ideas for discussing with teens:

Is it better to be oblivious?  Think of the people who took phydus.

Discuss the power struggle between the frozens and Elder.

Would you want to stat on the planet or go back to Earth?

What was your first impression of the “aliens?”  How did your perception change?

How do you feel about Orion after you learned what he knew?  Would you have done what he did?  What would you have done?

Book Two In Hunger Games Read Alike Is Full Of Action

I absolutely loved Veronica Roth’s Divergent and eagerly awaited book 2.  After a slow start, Insurgent really takes off.  At first I was afraid this would go the way of recent second books I’ve been reading which were disappointing.  I am so glad that was not the case.  I did have to take a look at a fan site to remember all of the characters.  I had trouble keeping all of the Dauntless characters straight.  Some short recaps in the book would have been helpful.  I am noticing this in plenty of second books lately, the lack of recaps makes me feel a little lost.  Besides all that, this book was great!  Tris, her brother Caleb, Tobias (aka Four) and other Dauntless make their way to Amity where they will be safe for a short while.  It was interesting to get a closer look at that faction.  Tobias’s horrible father, Marcus, has a secret that could save or destroy the faction system.  During much of the book Tris has to decide whether to trust Marcus and risk her relationship with Tobias to learn the truth about what is beyond the fence.  Dauntless splits in two, some following Erudite while others, like Tobias, want to form an alliance with the factionless.   We learn a lot about Tobias’s family, specifically his mother which gives us plenty of insight into him as a character. We also learn more about Tris’s family, specifically her brother, Caleb.  The action really picks up for me when Tris allows herself to be captured in order for Jeanine to stop killing people.  They want to study her brain and find a way to defeat the Divergent who keep overpowering their simulations.  I love the way Tris is able to fight back against the serums. At the end of the book we get a glimpse of the big secret Marcus has been hiding throughout the story.  I can’t wait until book 3 to find out what happens!

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Would you rather be Divergent or fit comfortably inside a faction?

Tris must choose whether to find the truth or help her friends carry out an attack.  Which would you chose and why?

Discuss whether it is better to withhold the truth from people to keep them safe or is knowledge more important?

Talk about which faction you would want to be in.

Which is better, a society with factions and order or a chaotic society?

Talk about Tris’s guilt over killing Will.

Discuss Caleb’s betrayal.  Why do you think he did what he did?

Talk about the Amity discusses problems.  Why do you think this would work or not work?

Discuss when Tris opts for a stunner instead of a gun during the invasion.

How do you feel about keeping secrets that could keep others safe?  Or is it better to always tell the truth no matter what?