The Infinite Sea: The 5th Wave, Book 2

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Infinite Sea: The 5th Wave, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Addictive alien-invasion sequel is jaw-droppingly intense.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Infinite Sea gives an unflinchingly bleak account of what can happen to a society ravaged by cataclysmic and apocalyptic events. Readers will learn how survivors have to make unthinkable choices and sacrifices to go on another day.

Positive Messages

The overwhelming message of The Infinite Sea is that even the most insignificant-seeming life has meaning and that humanity hinges on believing that every person matters. To think that nothing and no one matters except your own life might be a good way to stay alive, but it's also how you lose your humanity. The romances in The Infinite Sea also stress how, even in catastrophic times, it's the unpredictable miracle of love that will get you through and keep you tied to others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the main teen characters show an amazing amount of courage under fire. They have to make unthinkably difficult decisions and yet stay remarkably committed to protecting others even when it's not in their best interest. They go to great lengths to keep promises to one another and to still feel human through laughter and love when there's so much tragedy around them.


Fewer characters die in this installment than in the first book, because most people have already been wiped out. There's still an incredibly high body count in this story, from barely mentioned groups to major characters. Killers can look attractive or harmless. Some of the deaths will be heartbreaking to readers. Those characters who survive do so after facing near-death time after time and overcoming ridiculous odds. Injuries and wounds are catalogued, discussed, and either tended to or deemed untreatable.


Despite of -- or because of -- the life-and-death circumstances, the teens have a heightened sense of connection with other survivors. The main characters do think about romance, love, and sex, and there are several passionate kisses in the book, either in the present or in memories of the past. A beautiful young woman asks another girl, "Isn't he perfectly perfect in bed?" making it obvious that she had sex with the guy in the past. One couple does have sex, but it's after an intense period of time together, and it's described with more emotional than physical details. Characters see one another naked, usually to tend to wounds.


Considering the end of the world is upon them, the teens and even younger kids in the book tend to curse without fear of punishment. The characters say "s--t," "a--hole," "f--k," "pussies," "dick," "bitch," and the like fairly often but not in every conversation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Infinite Sea is the much-anticipated sequel to Rick Yancey's best-selling sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave, which is so popular it's already set to be adapted for a film starring Chloe Moretz in 2016. This "unputdownable" second installment answers some questions but poses others, and there are plenty of intense twists and turns for fans of the first volume. Cassie and her motley crew of fellow survivors once again must fight to survive, and there are many scenes of nail-biting violence, mass and personal killings, and near-death experiences. The occasional strong language is understandable given the extreme circumstances. Yancey also ups the romance with more potential couples that lead to intense romance and even a love scene. These teens might be facing death on a daily basis, but they're still hormonal, impetuous, and emotional as they struggle with what it means to be human in utterly inhumane conditions.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byoneloc March 30, 2017
Kid, 11 years old May 15, 2016

The infinite sea

The infinite sea starts off slow but gets much faster. This book is an improvement on The 5th wave. The infinite sea is a bit cheesy. There is a few swear words... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE INFINITE SEA picks up shortly after the climactic events of The 5th Wave: Cassie's finally reunited with her little brother, Sam, but also a small band of young soldiers -- led by her high school crush Ben -- who are still reeling with the knowledge they were being conditioned to kill fellow humans instead of aliens. The group holes up waiting to see if Evan Walker survived his self-sacrificing rampage that saved them (Cassie believes he has, but her foil, Ringer, thinks otherwise), but when two members of their party go missing, everyone must come to terms with the fact that there are even more devastating dangers than the Silencers who can kill with abandon and precision. These few left alive wonder what new horrors are in store for them and what the future holds, not just for them but for all of humanity.

Is it any good?

Yancey brilliantly continues his sci-fi epic with an equally enthralling second story. This one raises the stakes, deepens characterizations, and adds in enough startling twists to keep readers desperate for more. Cassie's back but more confused than ever; she has no idea how to deal with her traumatized brother (who blatantly prefers Ben) or her seemingly misguided but deep-seated faith that Evan Walker will be back -- for her. In contrast to Cassie is Ringer, who's bumped up from supporting player to main character. We learn more about her past (including her actual name and what it takes to make her finally laugh) and root for her as she embarks on a mysterious journey that leads her, like Cassie in the first book, to love and new discoveries.

Pardon the vague language, but there's so much in The Infinite Sea that should be experienced on the page and not through a review. Just know that it has more of your favorite characters, lots of new heroes and villains (and those who are somehow in both camps), and even a powerful dose of breathtaking romance. If you think you have everything figured out, you're most definitely wrong, and that's a good thing. Be prepared to put off sleep and other responsibilities as you dive into Yancey's Infinite Sea, a book so immersive you'll want to immediately re-read it the moment you're done.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why stories about alien invasions are so popular. How can these stories teach us about humanity and survival?

  • What is the book's message about love? Why is it central to the human experience?

  • Discuss the way Yancey uses romance to show how the unpredictability of love is a unique part of the human experience. To which of the couples' stories do you feel most connected? Why (or why not) are the love stories a necessary part of the book?

  • There were plenty of plot twists and turns in this installment. Which ones surprised you the most? What do you hope will happen in the final book of the trilogy?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers and dystopian novels

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