Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Publication date: May 6, 2008
Melanie Stryder is one of few "wild" humans - rebels who have evaded the alien souls that have taken over the Earth. With her younger brother Jamie and the man she loves, Jared Howe, Mel is on the run from souls who hunt down host bodies for use. Souls are creatures that rely upon host bodies to survive. After insertion, they erase any mental presence of the being there prior and establish a claim over the body and mind. Earth is Wanderer's ninth planet, and Mel is her ninth host body. Upon waking inside her new body, she is shocked not only by the vividness of human emotions, memories, and senses, but quickly learns that Melanie Stryder is not willing to give up her mind.
Wanderer is bombarded with memories and her host body's yearning for Jared and Jamie, and finds herself in love with the humans and desperate to see if they are still alive. On a road trip to Tucson, Melanie remembers her Uncle Jeb telling her about a secret hideaway he once made. Wanderer sets out to find the hideaway, and is found half-dead with exhaustion and dehydration by Jeb. She is taken back to the caves in which a rebel cell lives, but is treated spitefully as they believe Wanderer to be a "parasite" in Melanie's body. Kyle and Ian O'Shea, two brothers, attempt to kill Wanderer, but are stopped by Jeb. Given time, Wanderer becomes a part of the routine by working, eating, and becoming an unofficial history teacher after evening meals; some even grow to believe that Mel is present in her mind as well. During this time Ian befriends Wanda, as she is most often called. Meanwhile, Ian begins to fall in love with Wanda, who is confused because of the love she feels for Jared. Insisting that Ian is only in love with her body, not Wanda the soul, Wanda rejects him.
When Jamie returns from a raid with an infected cut to the leg, Wanda and Jared sneak out to a hospital where she steals supplies to bring back to Jamie and the rest. At this point the humans realize that Wanda can be of use to them as a raider, since she is trusted by other souls. Following another raid, Wanda decides to reveal her biggest secret: how to remove a soul without killing either the human or the soul, a procedure that their doctor had been attempting unsuccessfully. She promises to teach Doc under two conditions: first, he promises to send the souls to new planets, and second, he promises to remove Wanda's soul from Melanie's body and bury Wanda, who does not want to be a parasite any longer.
Wanda sneaks away from Ian, who is enraged at the idea of Wanda ending her life, and has Doc remove her from Melanie's body. Later, however, she awakens in a new one, and it is revealed that none of the humans wished for her to leave. The book ends with the rebels, when on a raid with Wanda, discovering another rebel group who also have a soul amongst them. This discovery suggests that humanity may still have hope for the future.