CATEGORIES Movie NewsThis past weekend, the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's "The Host" failed to capture a rapt audience, despite its built-in "Twilight" fanbase.
The movie had an underwhelming debut in 6th place and averaged a dismal 11% on Rotten Tomatoes! But that doesn't mean that the young adult genre has stopped being relevant. If "The Host's" disappointing bow has left you wanting more, make way for an even better YA book coming to the big screen -- and another alien invasion story, at that -- called "The 5th Wave."
Written by sci-fi author and memoirist Rick Yancey, "The 5th Wave" (on sale May 7) is the kind of un-put-downable sci-fi thriller that readers want to race through without interruption. Producers Graham King ("World War Z," "Argo," "Hugo") and Tobey Maguire ("Spider-Man) liked the premise so much they snatched up the option while it was only a book proposal. If they can find a director and a cast to do the story justice, "The 5th Wave" could be both a critical and commercial success on par with "The Hunger Games."
Here are five reasons to prepare for "The 5th Wave."
1. Apocalypse Stories Now: Whether it's zombies or nuclear war or unstoppable contagions, apocalyptic stories of survival -- especially ones where humans are the underdogs -- are irresistibly compelling. There needs to be an element of danger -- to know the aliens aren't wide-eyed, Reese's Pieces-loving vegetarians. So when we start to follow the story of 16-year-old Cassie, who is journaling about how the aliens destroyed all but 3% of the population, we know this is a world even more perilous than the Hunger Games Arena, this is an alien war bleaker than "Independence Day." And who could be more absorbing a protagonist than a 16-year-old who just wants to live one more day and find her 5-year-old baby brother?
2. A Kick-Butt Heroine: Although the book is written from multiple points of view, the main protagonist is Cassie (for Cassiopeia, not something pedestrian like Cassidy or Cassandra). She's lost her parents, her best friends, everything that ever made her feel safe. Her only mission is to find her little brother, Sam, who was taken by mysterious soldiers on a yellow school bus to an Air Force Base. For what, Cassie has no idea. She's alone, save for her backpack, her two guns, and Sam's favorite teddy bear. But when her decisions come down to "Stay=Die, Run=Die," she does the unthinkable and faces her enemy. She's petite but fierce, sarcastic and scared -- not for herself but for all of what's left of humanity.
3. The Waves of Destruction: The title -- not to be confused with "The Fifth Element" -- refers to the four catastrophic waves, or plagues or horrors or whatever you want to call them, unleashed by the aliens: 1st Wave: Light's Out (no more electricity), 2nd Wave: Surf's Up (massive waves that crushed the coasts), 3rd Wave: Pestilence (a worldwide supervirus) and the 4th Wave: Sliencers (think sleeper cells of terrorists, but deadlier and more precise). What's left to wipe out the rest of dwindling humanity is unknown 5th Wave.
4. High-Stakes Action: This is a book full of close calls, game-changing twists, and life-or-death moments. It's like watching "The Walking Dead" or "Battlestar Galactica" or "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy" -- you think you know what side someone is on, but you don't. You think all the aliens are evil and all the humans are worth saving, but it doesn't work that way. There's a lot of violence and death and grieving in "The 5th Wave." It makes you think about what it means to be human, what it means to love someone unconditionally, what it costs to survive. If the book can make you chew your nails down to the quick, the movie could be just as awesome.
5. Love Is a Battlefield: When the 1st Wave hits, Cassie's best friend encourages her to take the opportunity to tell her adolescent-long crush, Ben Parish, that she's been in love with him for years, and then offer herself to him. Why die a virgin, right? But Cassie doesn't do any such thing, and eventually she thinks that love cannot and will not bloom in such a state of constant despair. But when she's saved from freezing to death by the mysterious and unbelievably handsome Evan Walker, Cassie's traitorous heart begins to beat faster, causing her to wonder if it's possible to trust someone other than herself.
Related: 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About "The Host"