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Book Club Kits: The 5th Wave

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Read an excerpt from the novel.

Discussion Questions

  • Should Cassie have killed the Crucifix Soldier? Why or why not?
  • Both Ben and Cassie have the will to survive—to keep going when everything seems lost. How are Ben and Cassie similar in other ways?
  • Vosch says, “We know how you think. We’ve been watching you for six thousand years.” How does Vosch’s overconfidence help Cassie and her companions to escape?
  • What does Vosch not understand about humans? What does Vosch not understand about his own race?
  • Why do the Others need psychological and technological warefare?
  • Why does Evan fall in love with Cassie?
  • One of the most terrifying aspects of THE 5th WAVE is not knowing whom to trust. After losing her family, Cassie lives by herself in the woods. How does she regain her ability to trust?
  • Evan Walker says that some of his race didn’t want to go along with the plan to exterminate humans. Using information from the book, why do you think that group did not prevail?
  • Would it be difficult for the Others to cohabitate with humans?
  • “You don’t believe in guns,” I whispered. “I used to not believe in a lot of things.” Like her dad, Cassie contends that her beliefs have changed. What evidence is there that Cassie and her principles haven’t changed as much as she says?
  • In what ways are humans like the Others?
  • How is Manifest Destiny similar to the Others’ takeover of the Earth? How does the American concept of Manifest Destiny differ?
  • Describe how The 5th Wave demonstrates that there is more to life than mere survival.
  • Names and identity play an important role in the story. The book begins with Cassie telling us her name and what names she is not. All of the kids in boot camp have nicknames and make a point of hiding their birth names. Explore the importance of names. What is the significance of the characters changing their names?
  • The 5th Wave suggests that humans need other humans. When their families are gone, the kids bond with each other. Initially, Cassie insists that the only way to survive is to be alone. Describe incidents in the novel that give evidence that humans are social creatures.
  • The US military has just changed its policy to allow women to participate in combat. Cassie and Ringer are characters that certainly demonstrate that females are adept at war and mortal combat. Are Cassie and Ringer realistic characters in this regard?

Questions from Baker and Taylor