Study Guide

The Host

The Host Introduction

We've seen a lot of alien invasion movies over the years. Independence Day. War of the Worlds. Men in Black. And we've noticed something in common about these films: we humans always win. Hooray!

But wait!

Just because we win in the movies doesn't mean we'd win in real life. In case the aliens pull it together and triumph, we're prepared. We've got an underground bunker and a generator. We've stockpiled gas, water, food, and Cheetos. And at the first sign of invasion (like a giant spaceship blowing up the White House or Sarah Jessica Parker's head being transplanted onto a dog's body), we're locking ourselves in our impenetrable subterranean hideout and never coming out.

No, we're not crazy paranoid conspiracy nuts. Why do you say that?

But seriously: if aliens do invade—and win—what happens next? We'll be fine in our underground bunker, of course, but what about you and everyone else? The Host is here to answer that question.

The Host is written by Stephenie Meyer. You might have heard of her. She's kind of a big deal. But The Host is different; it's Meyer's first foray into non-vampire territory, and it's also her first book marketed as an adult novel. (No, not that kind of adult!)

In The Host, body-snatching aliens have won the fight for Earth. The few remaining humans are in hiding. But there's a twist: this story is told from the perspective of the alien. Wanderer experiences a whirlwind of human emotions—fear, anger, lust, and love—and tastes scrumptious human foods—French fries, chocolate shakes, Cheetos. And now, having had a taste of all that delicious human food, she wants to know what it really means to be human.

If you ask us, French fries and Cheetos pretty much covers it.

What is The Host About and Why Should I Care?

You might never have asked yourself the question, "What would I do if an alien took over my body?" But some days, you might feel like one did anyway. Why do we think the things we think and act the way we act, even if it isn't how we really feel? On a bad mental health day, it's easy to feel like your worst enemy is yourself.

Just as Twilight tapped into the most romantic (and creepy) parts of our psyche, The Host takes internal conflict to the most extreme. Poor Melanie Stryder has lost all control of her body. It's walking and talking and smooching on her boyfriend like it has a mind of its own. And all she can do is try to come to terms with these alien—literally—thoughts.

It's a wild ride of intense emotions, a little love, and lots of Cheetos. Who doesn't like Cheetos? Grab a bag and curl up with The Host. Good luck keeping that orange dust off all the pages.

The Host Resources

Websites

Author Notes
Stephenie Meyer (you know, the author) has more Host news and behind-the-scenes tidbits than you can shake a Cheeto at.

Hachette Job
The publisher of The Host has even more Host-y goodness, with a discussion board, movie news, and more.

Movie or TV Productions

The Wanda Show
The Host movie is directed by Andrew Nichol, who also did the sci-fi/fantasy classics The Truman Show and Gattaca, both movies with identity issues.

Steph on Set
Being the author of the book has its perks. Stephenie Meyer knows all sorts of scoop about The Host movie. (And she knows how to pronounce "Saoirse," the star of the movie.)

Articles and Interviews

Where's Wanda?
Stephenie Meyer talks about her transition from vamps to aliens in this interview.

Autographs and Advice
At a book signing in Denver in 2008, Stephenie Meyer answered a few questions about The Host (who's her favorite character?) and offered some advice on getting published. (Write about sparkly vampires.)

Just Ask Jake
Want to know what it's like to work with Stephenie Meyer? Just ask Jake. Jake Abel, that is, who plays Ian in The Host adaptation.

Video

A Niccol for Your Thoughts
In this video, Stephenie Meyer and Andrew Niccol talk about adapting The Host to film and the possibility of a sequel to the novel. Steph, stop doing interviews and start writing!

I Always Feel Like Some Body Snatcher's Watching Me...
The Host all about the aftermath of an alien invasion. We're not sure what the actual invasion was like, but we imagine it was kind of like the classic film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Watch the trailer here.

Whose World is it Anyway?
Get a sneak peek at the movie with this delightfully creepy teaser trailer for The Host.

Sci-Fi for People Who Don't Like Sci-Fi
Stephenie Meyer talks about the conflict between Wanda and Melanie and the evolution of the characters. No one says it better than the author herself!

Audio

Wanda Speaks
Want to hear a voice other than the ones inside your own head? Listen to the audiobook of The Host.

Soul Meets Body
If you need a little more help getting into the mood of The Host, check out this playlist, made from Stephenie Meyer's suggestions.

Images

You've Got Something in Your Eye
If you see someone with a silver ring in their eye, and this someone is not on the cover of The Host, you better run!

Do You Wanda...
Want to know what Wanda/Melanie looks like in the movie? Here's a photo of Saoirse Ronan and Jake Abel, who play Melanie/Wanda and Ian.

A Silverfish Called Wanda
Here's one artist's representation of what Wanda looks like outside her host. Cuddly or creepy?