The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Book Info
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
© 2008 Little Brown and Co., New York, NY
ISBN 978-0316036917

Plot Summary
The Earth has been invaded by a parasitic species of alien that invade their human hosts, taking over their mind and body control, but leaving the physical form intact. The alien species call themselves souls and think they are doing humans and the Earth a favor by respecting the planet’s resources and living in peace as humans without wars or conflict. Small bands of non-hosted humans still exist, but must live discretely in hiding.

Melanie Stryder was given to a soul known as “Wanderer,” for her travels and lives lived on other planets as other species, but Melanie refuses to fade away. Melanie and Wanderer initially fight for control of the body, but eventually learn to coexist and even work together. Wanderer develops love for the people that Melanie loves, and together they set out to be reunited with them once again.

Reader’s Annotation
Parasitic aliens invade the Earth and take over the minds and bodies of humans, but some humans don’t give up so easily. Human Melanie Stryder becomes the host of the alien Wanderer, and while they are enemies at first they learn to work together to find the ones they love.

Critical Evaluation
Many complain about the literary value of Meyer’s writing, but after reading Twilight and now The Host, I can safely say that I was able to overlook any literary shortcomings and focus on her story telling. She does have the tendency to overuse certain descriptions, and if it’s one thing that stands out to me in writing, it’s repetition. Characters were often “pressing their lips into a firm line,” and while this is a good and vivid description, after the twelfth time it just becomes redundant and annoying to the reader. The book kept a fairly consistent and reasonable pace, though it might be interpreted as getting overly dramatic at times. Overall, I felt this book possessed a strong and unique concept and the storyline and was sufficiently different from the author’s other major work, the Twilight series.

Information about the Author
Stephenie Meyer was born in Hartford, Connecticut, to Stephen and Candy Morgan. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, with five siblings: Seth, Emily, Jacob, Paul, and Heidi. She attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. She then attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she received a B.A. in English in 1997. Meyer met her husband Christiaan, nicknamed “Pancho”, when she was growing up in Arizona, and married him in 1994 when they both were 21. Together they have three sons: Gabe, Seth, and Eli. Christiaan Meyer, formerly an auditor, has now retired to take care of the children.

Meyer is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; she has stated that she is strait-laced about her beliefs and does not drink alcohol or smoke. Meyer had never written even a short story before Twilight and had considered going to law school because she felt she had no chance of becoming a writer; she later noted that the birth of her oldest son Gabe changed her mind, saying, “Once I had Gabe, I just wanted to be his mom.” Before becoming an author, Meyer’s only professional work was as a receptionist in a property company.

Meyer currently lives in Cave Creek, Arizona, and also owns a home on Marrowstone Island, Washington.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Science Fiction, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
The Souls invade the Earth thinking they are doing it a favor and making it a better place. Discuss your thoughts on this concept.

Wanderer learns to understand and love humans and can’t justify living if it means a human mind has to die, but the humans keep her alive in another body anyway. How do you think she will fare in this situation?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
As a popular young adult author, it didn’t feel right to not include Stephenie Meyer, however I did not want to simply include her most famous work. I have read and enjoyed Twilight, but was curious to see what else she was capable of.

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