The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave was heralded by Entertainment Weekly as “Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances.” Silly me for not missing it.

Of course, this YA novel will be the next big movie “thing” after The Hunger Games cools off, and it will be an easy sell. Think Hunger Games meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets War of the Worlds meets Enders Game meets The Passage, The Road, and any number of end-of-human-civilation fantasies. Subtract psychological insight (Yancey is enamored of a “Columbus meets the Native Americans” analogy, but he’s more fond of characters who wonder if their hair looks good in the midst of a shootout) and include a prose style that makes Suzanne Collins look like James Joyce. Of course, this kind of “derivation is everything” approach is what attracts pop culture writers today – the more references, the smarter the cognoscenti feel. I thought Harry Potter was literary junk food, but Rowling is sublime in comparison.