The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The first wave was lights out. An EMP takes out all the technology on the planet. The second wave was worse: massive tsunamis across the entire world's coastlines killing millions. The third wave was the worst of all. It had a 97% kill rate. They used the birds to spread an incurable disease. At this point, Cassie isn't sure if there are any humans left out there. The fourth wave is diabolical: the silencers look like people. Humanity doesn't have a chance.

The Others, as Cassie has dubbed them, have taken out nearly seven billion people in about three months. Her family is all gone, dead or taken. She put her brother on a bus hoping to send him to safety, but there's little chance of that. All she has left are her M-16 and her wits. The latter seem less sharp lately, as food is getting more scarce, and the Silencers have the dual purpose of causing paranoia as well as death. She has one goal: if her brother is out there, she's going to find him.

Her brother has been taken to a secret military base and trained to be a soldier. He's not Sammy anymore. Now he's Nugget. He can shoot, he can fight, he can kill...things no seven-year old should know how to do. His Squad may have graduated without him, but that doesn't change the fact that Nugget is a different person. They all are, here underground in Camp Haven. This is the military's answer to the alien threat: they've infiltrated a piece of their technology, and have used it to calculate the effectiveness of each of the soldiers chosen. Will humanity's last chance stand a chance?

Cassie's had her fair share of trouble on the way, but she's coming for way or another.

Yancey does an amazing job with this one. Well-paced, engrossing, well written, great story, and great details add up to a book you don't want to miss. It captures the terror of invasion followed by the desperation of retaliation. This is going to light a spark under the growing alien trend. I can't wait for the sequel!
"We couldn't take them head-on, but we could fight a guerrilla war. We could go all asymmetrical on their alien asses. We had enough guns and ammo and even some transport that survived the 1st Wave. Our militaries had been decimated, but there were still functional units on every continent. There were bunkers and caves and underground bases where we could hide for years. You be America, alien invaders, and we'll be Vietnam. 
And the Others go, Yeah, okay, right. 
We thought they had thrown everything at us-or at least the worst, because it was hard to imagine anything worse than the Red Death. Those of us who survived the 3rd Wave-the ones with a natural immunity to the disease-hunkered down and stocked up and waited for the People in Charge to tell us what to do. We knew somebody had to be in charge, because occasionally a fighter jet would scream across the sky and we heard what sounded like gun battles in the distance and the rumble of troop carriers just over the horizon," (Yancey pg. 47, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (5th Wave, Book 2) Release date: Sept. 16, 2014
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Partials by Dan Wells
Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

Yancey, Rick. (2013). The 5th Wave. New York, NY : G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

In a land far away, there are three kingdoms: Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. They live side by side in a fragile peace. Sounis desires the hand of Eddis in order to fortify his own kingdom against the aggressive Attolia. The Queen of Attolia wishes to take over all three lands. Eddis remains the impartial in-between, desiring not only her own freedom, but the neutrality of her own throne and lands. In the middle of this political turmoil, there is a thief: Eugenides (or Gen).

Gen's mouth has landed him in a bigger batch of trouble than he anticipated: he's landed in the King of Sounis' jail after bragging that he could steal the royal seal. The Magus, the King's most trusted advisor, offers him a deal. If he wants out of jail, he must help them steal the legendary Hamiathes's Gift. The stone is reputed to hold the power to claim the throne of neighboring Eddis. In return, Gen is promised fame...and his life...not really a deal he can turn down.

The party consists of the Magus, himself, two young people Gen has nicknamed Useless the Younger and Useless the Elder, and Pol. Pol, we learn, is the head of a Duke's guard, and tasked to train and guard Useless the Younger (Sophos). On their path, they encounter various trials, but it is the legendary temple where the stone is reported to be held that proves most difficult.

To reach it, they must pass, not only through neutral Eddis, but into aggressive Attolia, risking not only their lives, but war between their countries. All this for a stone that many believe to be a myth. Can Eugenides (Gen) live up to his namesake, the god of thieves?

This is a Newbery Honor book from a while back, and I mistakenly read the fourth book in the series first. I fell in love with it, but was worried I had spoiled it for myself. I waited a year to read this one, and was so enchanted. Turner does a fantastic job with the dialog and the mythology. Spot on, and highly recommended for middle grade readers, or anyone interested in knights, fantasy, and politics.
“'I want you to steal something.'
I smiled. 'Do you want the king's seal? I can get it for you.'
'If I were you,' said the magus, 'I'd stop bragging about that.' His voice grated.
My smile grew. The gold ring with the engraved ruby had been in his safekeeping when I had stolen it away," (Turner, 1996). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (The Queen's Thief, Book 2)
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson 

Turner, Megan Whalen. (1996). The Thief. New York: Greenwillow Books.