Book vs. Movie: The 5th Wave


Don't Judge a Book By Its Movie

Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations.

Book vs. Movie: The 5th WaveTitle: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston
Director: J. Blakeson
Screenplay: Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, and Jeff Pinkner
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult Fiction, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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


The 5th Wave: Book vs. Movie

Comparing the book vs. movie of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is quite interesting. The book is an epic dystopian novel that is gripping, well-written and makes the reader think about the world around us. How excited do you get when one of your favourite series is optioned for the big screen? It seems that so many young adult novels are being adapted into screen plays these days and some are definite hits, while others seem to miss the boat completely. While the movie absolutely contains many incredible scenes that are captivating and well-acted by its fantastic cast, there is so much deviation from the story that I felt annoyed at parts of the film.

❀ The 5th Wave Book is Amazing

First of all, how can one not fall in love with the amazing The 5th Wave series created by Rick Yancey? The frightening world that earth becomes when aliens have taken over the planet is realistically written through alternating perspectives, which gives the reader a very well-rounded impression of the scenes in the story. The major character in the novel, Cassie, is an average teenager who must turn into a quick thinking assassin in a race against time and to save her life. The reader is sucked into this alternate world that earth has become and is made to contemplate how the world we live in and our existence is a precious gift.

❀ The Movie has Jaw-Dropping Special Effects

Now, the film is chock full of special effects that are truly jaw-dropping, and while I enjoyed it, I really felt that it didn’t stick to the original story as much as it could have. Admittedly, to transform an almost 500 page novel into a movie is most likely a daunting task. Many details and scenes must be omitted or condensed to get the story to the screen. However, there was more tweaking of the story here than needed to happen in my opinion and left me scratching my head at a lot of the changes and their relevance to the story itself. Also, there were quite a few moments in the movie that were so ridiculous that the entire audience was laughing out loud. Without spoiling the movie, let’s just say that there are times where the characters are in awkward situations that are very unrealistic to the plot.

❀ Go see the 5th Wave Movie!

So the real question here is, should you see The 5th Wave? My short answer is, yes! For those who are fans of the book, there may be some disappointment that is all too typical for readers as the book strays from the original storyline. On the other hand, the movie is a fun, thrilling ride that will leave viewers on the edge of their seats. This is one action-packed book that should definitely not be judged by its movie.

About Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.


About Lori

Avid reader. Contributor to The Candid Cover. Educator.

30 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: The 5th Wave

  1. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature says:

    Okay, I’m going to see it tonight. Here is my one question, it’s probably a very little detail, but it seems important to me. Does Evan have chocolatey brown eyes? 🙂 He has to. It was such a cheesy detail in Cassie’s diary, but she even called herself on being cheesy later on, which makes it important to me.

  2. Candid Cover says:

    I cannot believe I didn’t remember that detail when I was watching the movie! I am pretty sure the movie Evan has a bluish/green eye colour. He has pretty eyes and is definitely very attractive. I can’t believe that they got this part wrong! I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂

    • buffywnabe says:

      That’s what all the shots from the movie that I’ve seen online look like, lighter colored eyes. I guess it is probably silly for me to be worried about that. But I just finished listening to Infinite Sea, and she even mentions how she wrote the cheesy thing about his eye color again. To me that makes it a big deal. Oh well. As long as the story is good, I’ve had to give up on my expectations of movies matching the book. 🙂

      • Lisa Mandina says:

        So I went and saw the movie last night. Going in with lower expectations, I was able to enjoy it. I was worried that maybe they wouldn’t include Cassie’s journal since Owen’s eyes weren’t brown, but they did. However, it seemed like they kind of went through all of the story pretty quickly, and like the review that the author tweeted about today, you didn’t really get to know the characters through the movie that well. It reminds me of another movie based on a book, where people didn’t understand why the two main characters fell in love, because none of it was shown in the movie. Those of us who had read the book, were able to fill all of that stuff in, but others didn’t get it. (That movie was Twilight). But, my friend who hasn’t read the book and went with me said she really liked it. And I did really enjoy it. So I will definitely be recommending it to people to go see! (P.S. – I’m Buffywnabe above, just having trouble logging into the WordPress today, so used my Facebook info instead.)

      • Candid Cover says:

        I had a feeling that it would be a hit with those who haven’t read the book. There is a lot that this movie offers. I am actually thinking that I might see it again to find out if anything was altered from the version I saw. You are right though, there aren’t enough details to piece some things together without knowledge of the book. I am glad that you enjoyed it!

  3. Annette says:

    Ridiculous moments? I do love the book – because of the serious dystopian undertones – so I’m hoping I can still enjoy this movie despite the changes…

  4. Alecia (@alecias14) says:

    I absolutely loved The 5th Wave book when I first read it and when I heard there as a movie I was beyond excited but I did have doubts that the movie wouold live up to the book and it looks like I was right. I’ll still definitely check the movie out but I’m going in with low expectations. Great review.

  5. Zoe says:

    I’m so excited for this! It’s a shame that it was changed just a little more than it needed to be, but I’m glad you enjoyed it regardless. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  6. Jamie @ Books and Ladders says:

    I haven’t read the book yet (oops!) so I think I may go see the movie before reading it so I can see the differences AFTER seeing the movie. That way I won’t feel like I wasted $11 on the movie 😉 As always, I love reading these book to movie reviews! They help me decide whether or not to see things on the big screen.

  7. Jaime Lynn says:

    I go through a mix of emotions when I see that a book that I have read and loved is going to be made into a movie. I get excited for a bit, but then the excitement turns to dread. When people were saying that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was being made into a movie, all I really felt was dread. How do you turn a story that full of awesome into a movie that can even come close? And it seems that most of the time, you just can’t. I mean, look at Mortal Instruments. The movie was terrible, and now it seems like the tv show is going the same route (I am going to give it a couple more episodes) But then you have Harry Potter, and those movies were so good, and true to the books as much as possible. It is proof that it can be done! I haven’t read The 5th Wave yet, but I think I will watch the movie first. That erases some of the dread. ANd I love Chloe Grace Moretz!

  8. debk987 says:

    I wholeheartedly aagree with the above comment made by Jamie Lynn. After hearing a book you’ve read and loved is being turned into a movie brings excitement at first but over time the feelings of excitement turn to disappointment with every bit of news that comes out about the movie. I have to say I’m not surprised by The 5th Wave movie’s lack of positive buzz following its release but I’m glad we still have the books!

  9. Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

    Ahh you’re so lucky to receive an advanced screening pass! 5th Wave is a book I’ve heard lots about (because of the new movie) but haven’t actually read the synopsis! It sounds really interesting, with a cool concept! I’ll be sure to read the book before the movie though ^_^

  10. Susan T. says:

    I haven’t started this series yet but I totally want to read the book before I see the movie. It’s always a bit of a disappointment to us readers but at least movies are being made based on YA!

  11. Ismahane says:

    I have watched the movie but haven’t read the books yet… I found the movie to be lacking at the final half! A lot of my friends have read the books and have convinced me to read them, so I’m picking up this trilogy after the release of Last Star and marathoning it!

  12. Elle says:

    I think I’m going to view the movie and books as separate stories. The concept sounds really interesting and the trailer looks amazing. I’m so behind on the 5th Wave wave 😉 but better late than never.

  13. Dara says:

    I have watched the movie and to be honest, I liked it. It may not have exactly being like the book, because honestly I have yet to see a movie live up to the book. I do wish the movie was longer or there was a sequel made.

  14. megan allen says:

    I love when books are made into movies!! I haven’t read this or watched the movie! Thanks for recommending!

  15. Debbie P says:

    I’ve been wanring to see this film. And I am very interested in the book. I think they will both be good.

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