This month we went back and forth on the vote, we ended up with Stephenie Meyer’s The Host.
A species of parasitic aliens called “Souls” have invaded Earth, deeming the humans too violent to deserve the planet. When a Soul is implanted into a host body, the consciousness of the original owner is erased, leaving their memories and knowledge. Wanderer, a Soul, is placed into the body of Melanie Stryder. However, Melanie’s consciousness is still alive and begins to communicate with Wanderer mentally. Wanderer’s assigned “Seeker” suggests that she should find a way to remove Melanie through surgery, but Wanderer makes several attempts to deny her Seeker’s wishes. As Wanderer starts to uncover some of Melanie’s memories of her younger brother Jamie Stryder and her boyfriend Jared Howe, Melanie gets her to follow a series of landmarks throughout the Arizona desert to find her Uncle Jeb, hoping that Jared and Jamie are with him. By doing so, she would be denying the Seeker’s ability to get Melanie out of her mind.
When Jeb comes across Melanie’s dying body, he realizes what had happened to her but still leads her to his hideout: a network of caves housing more than thirty people. Most of the other humans wanted her to be killed with the exception of Jared and Jamie, and later on Ian O’Shea, who develops feelings for Wanderer. As days pass and she starts to become a part of the community, many of the community members start to trust her with jobs and eventually gave her a teaching role among the colony. She is also given the name Wanda in replacement of the name Wanderer. After tending to a cancer patient one night, Wanda is attacked by Ian’s brother, Kyle. After managing to save both herself and Kyle from drowning, the two are taken into the infirmary. Shortly after recovering, Wanda stumbles across a slew of mutilated bodies that cause her to hide by herself in terror for three days. During her time in isolation, Wanda learns from Jeb that the humans are trying to cut Souls out of their hosts in attempt to restore the consciousness and life of the humans but so far each attempt has resulted in a dead body.
When Jamie is suffering from a fever caused by infection from a leg injury, Wanda realizes that she must recover medicine from the Souls to cure Jamie before it is too late. With the assistance of Jared, the two manage to cure Jamie’s ailments in time. Thanks to her efforts, Wanda is entrusted with attending raids for supplies and it is now believed by many that Melanie is still present inside Wanda’s mind. Not long after the raiders return to the colony, they learn that the caves have been attacked and Wanda’s Seeker has been captured. After coming to a conclusion about the Seeker’s life, Wanda decides to tell Doc how to properly remove Souls from human bodies. The Seeker is sent back into space. Wanda devises another plan to remove herself from Melanie’s body and let herself die in order to allow Melanie to return to Jared once more. Learning of Wanda’s plan, Ian becomes furious and calls a tribunal to stop her plans. Despite his attempts, Wanda manages to get herself to Doc’s beforehand. Before going through the procedure though, Wanda declares her love for Ian.
To her surprise, Wanda wakes up in a new host whose consciousness has not returned. In her new body, Wanda gains wide acceptance from the humans and is free to be in a relationship with Ian while Melanie goes back with Jared. Over the course of time following the surgery, the colony begins to grow and many of its residents become more prosperous than ever before. The novel ends with their discovery of another group of humans like theirs who have a Soul named Burns in their group.