Cassie's my sister. She's coming for me. She promised. Promised.

–Sam Sullivan

Samuel J. Sullivan, also called Sammy and Nugget, is one of the main characters of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

Sam is one of the survivors of the waves sent to destroy mankind. He is Cassie Sullivan's little brother and her only living relative. Sam lost his mother in the 3rd Wave and was then separated from his father and sister. Unknown to him until much later, he lost his father soon after with the emergence of the 4th Wave.

He was taken by the Others and begins training for their children army as the 5th Wave. He went to become the youngest member of Squad 53 and became quite close and loyal to Ben Parish/Zombie. Over time he was reunited with his sister and they, along with the squad, head out to survive against the Others. He has shaped himself up into becoming a hardened young boy with their changed world.

Sam ultimately survives the 5th Wave thanks to his sister's sacrifice in destroying The Others' spaceship. He goes on to live in the care of Ben, Marika and Evan.

Sam Sullivan has appeared in The 5th Wave, The Infinite Sea and serves as a narrator in The Last Star.


He is described as having messy brown hair and large, teddy bear eyes. He also used to carry around a Teddy bear that hardly ever left his side before he got into the child army.

The 5th Wave

Sam Sullivan was a typical young boy living with his parents and sister until The Others arrived. He was shielded from most of the fallout of the first two waves but when the third wave hit his mother fell ill. He had to watch as she slowly died and got buried in their backyard. After that, Sam and his family left their home to try to head to the Wright-Patterson base as his father felt that if there was any form of government left that it would be there.

They eventually made it to Camp Ashpit where they stayed with other survivors. They stayed until one day military men pulled up to the camp with humvees and school buses. They had set up base at Wright-Patterson and were taking the children there to be safe. Sammy didn't want to leave his family but it was insisted that he go for his own good. Sam's teddy bear stayed behind with his sister Cassie. He wanted her to have it so she could get it back to him when they met again. He was then taken into the buses and they drove him away from his father and sister.
Sam at Camp

Sam arriving at Camp Haven

He was taken to Camp Haven where he went through the screening process and after he went through Wonderland, he was assigned to Squad 53, replacing Teacup as the youngest member. Sam then received the ironic name Nigger due to his small penis. He was introduced to the squad when he was brought to their brought to their barracks after his placement.

He then started to go through training but quickly became a target for Reznik. He yelled and scolded Sam to the point of tears in front of the squads in the training courtyard.
Bullied Sammy

Sam watching Ben suffer Reznik's abuse for defending him

Ben rushed to his defense and that made Ben be promoted to squad leader. Sam was looked out for by Ben when they processed and disposed of bodies and during basic training. Sam revealed to Ben that he also was made to push the execution button to kill a 'Ted' that was captured. 

While Sam was too small to hold a rifle, he was excellent with the obstacle courses and physical training. However, he does put up with a lot of grief from both Tank and Flintstone who believed that Sam's placement in their squad would only bring them down. During an evacuation drill, Sam fell and Ben went and carried him to the emergency bunker at the expense of making their squad's time go up and dropping them greatly in the ranks. Tank chastised Ben and told him that next time Sam should just be left behind.

He did have trouble sleeping at night so he went to Ben to help him sleep by asking him to pray with him like he did with his sister.

Sam talking with Ben Parish in the barracks

He often told Ben about his sister Cassie and how she promised to come for him. During their duties of working in the Process and Disposal Department, where they had to clean out the pockets and clothes of the corpses Ben stuck with Sam to help him work through bodies since he was so small.

When Squad 53 was given their first combat mission against 'Teds' Sam was to be left behind as he was too young and would be assigned to a new squad. Ben promised to come back for him but Sam didn't want him to promise him anything as his sister made him a promise but wasn't able to come through with it. Ben then gave him his sister's locket saying he would be coming back for it.


Sam is reunited with his sister

Sam was then approached by his sister Cassie. At first, he thought she was a new recruit until she informed him that she was taking him away. She also brought him back his bear. As they were escaping they were soon halted by what seemed to be a doctor. Cassie pulled out her gun on him while the doctor tried to pull out his. Sam realized that it was his friend Zombie or Ben as Cassie knew him to be and stopped her before she could shoot him by stepping up and removing his face mask. When both his sister and his friend realized that they were both trying to save Sam from this place they then decided to try and leave together. Yet, before they could escape they were halted by Vosch who took Sam prisoner. He was put in the execution room's shock chair to intimidate and force Cassie's hand to reveal how she infitrated the camp and seemed to know that she could beat Wonderland. Vosch then pushed the button to have Sam fried but the system had been shut down by Evan Walker.
Escape from Haven

Sam escapes the base with Cassie and Ben.

When Vosch left to see to the new breach, Cassie was able to surprise and take out the silencers guarding them. Sam also briefly met Evan who found them and told them how to escape before he rigged the base to blow. Sam went with Cassie and Ben as they headed out to escape before it fully collapsed. Ringer and what remained of Squad 53 turned up in a stolen humvee and Sam was helped inside along with the two of them as the base finished collapsing. Cassie held onto him and she was held onto by Ben as the three of them watched the sunset together, for the moment free and safe from Camp Haven with the rest of the squad.

The Infinite Sea

Sam, his sister and the rest of the squad have now held up in a hotel roughly four miles from where Camp Haven used to be. It was dubbed the Walker Hotel in honor of Evan Walker. Sam begins to shock his sister with how much he has changed since the last time they were together. Sam has become much harder and colder than the timid and scared boy she remembered. Sam pushes his teddy bear away from him and when his sister asked him why he told her that he doesn't need it anymore. That he is a soldier now and soldiers don't need teddy bears. He also correctly guessed that their father was now dead to which he was angry at Cassie about. Teacup was listening to their conversation and started to make fun of them and Sam went to fight with her to get her to shut up.

After Sam cooled down, he asked his sister about how he died and she told him about Vosch shooting him. He said that he would find Vosch and kill him but Cassie said that she already had dibs on doing that herself. An issue arose when Cassie referred to him as Sam but Ben referred to him as Nigger. His sister was starting to find it confusing and it was thought that Sam should pick one name to go by. He eventually settled for Sam.

Soon after, Evan Walker had made his way to the hotel and had taken down the squad one by one, including knocking out Sam. However, his sister shot Evan in the leg. When ideas and plans were being thrown around about what to do next, the hotel was hit by the sounds of choppers overhead and soon enough there was another arrival in the hotel. It was a girl and immediately Sam recognized her as Megan, a girl who rode with him on the bus that brought him to Camp Haven.

Yet, when Evan Walker regained consciousness, he told them that Megan had a bomb inserted in her throat. Sam was upset that Megan was in pain and in trouble. He was brought to the diner across the street for safety while his sister and Evan stayed behind to try and remove the bomb, which they did. Evan informs them all that Megan's arrival was a test, one to see if there was a Silencer among them that knew about the bomb which Sam pointed out that there was, Evan. To try and buy them time, Evan suggests rigging the bomb to detonate to throw the Others off for a bit. However, the hotel was then breached and attacked by Grace.

Sam was evacuated from the hotel along with Megan as the others in the squad tried to hold her off. He watched as the bomb that was removed from Megan was triggered and blew the hotel up in a flash of green light. They all took shelter and Sam was off to the side with Megan, both asleep, as the others were awake and alert to welcome back a still alive Evan Walker.

The Last Star

Sam, along with the rest of Squad 53, Cassie and Evan, take refuge up in Grace's safehouse. They find plenty of supplies and food, but ultimately decide that the house is not strong enough to barricade them from the Others' continuous attacks. Sam spends a good deal of time playing with some of the toys and games that are found in that house, alongside Megan. He also begins to upset Cassie when she learns that he has forgotten what their mother looked like before she succumbed to the 3rd Wave, as well as the fact that Sam was competent in the handling of guns but had forgotten his ABC's.

After Ben Parish and Dumbo leave to find Ringer and Teacup, Sam spends the majority of his time holed up with Zombie's secret stash of weapons. When Zombie returns with Ringer and an unfamiliar woman named Constance, Sam is used by Constance as a way to force Evan Walker to come with her to the Black Hawk that would take Evan back to Vosch by threatening Sam's life with a gun. Ultimately, Sam uses his hidden gun to overcome Constance and, with the help of the remaining Squad 53, Evan and Cassie, eliminates Constance.

After Constance was eliminated, he confided in Cassie that the experience made him start to remember his mother a bit better but Cassie wasn't happy that it took him killing someone to bring the memory of their mother back for him. Soon after that, Vosch send more soldiers to the safehouse, including Squad 19, in order to get Evan Walker. Sam had been put in the safety of the basement with Megan as the older kids dealt with the invaders. Cassie and Ringer decided to head for Vosch's base to try and rescue Evan and Sam had a sad farewell with his sister. He wanted her to take Bear with her, as she had returned to give back to him last time, but she insisted that he keep it. This would be the last time that they would see each other.


Zombie, Nugget, and Cassie

Sammy with his sister Cassie and his friend Zombie

Cassie Sullivan

Sam loves his sister and looks up to her. Cassie affectionately calls him Faggot. He was sad when Cassie couldn't come with him on the buses for Camp Haven and leaves his teddy bear with her. During his time at the camp he frequently told Ben that his sister was coming to get him. When Cassie came to Camp Haven for him he was happy to see her again. She returns his teddy bear to him when they meet again.

When they are hiding away Sam shows Cassie how much he has changed. He shows his anger towards her especially when he reveals that he knows that their father must be dead. He also begins to reject having his bear to her surprise. His new attitude scares and saddens her that while Sam doesn't know his ABC's he knows how to easily assemble homemade bombs. Even more sad to her is that Sam begins to forget what their parents look like or even about the good times that he had before The Arrival.

The last time they see each other face to face, he tells his sister that he does remember their mother as it came back to him when he shot and killed the silencer that tried to hold him hostage though Cassie didn't quite know how to feel about that. They parted with a hug. Sam was mesmerized by the sight of Cassie flying up to the Others' mothership in a pod but saddened when she sacrificed herself to destroy the ship with her in it. He often tells Ben that he misses her.

Ben Parish/Zombie

Sam comes to look up to Ben/Zombie much like a big brother when they meet at Camp Haven. Ben goes out of his way to defend and look out for him. He told Ben of his sister Cassie and confided that she was coming for him soon. They even pray together at night in order to help him get to sleep. Sammy tends to follow after and hang around Ben so much that many of the other recruits call him Zombie's Dog behind his back.

When they are holding up at the hotel Sam is shown that he deeply respects Ben's authority when he instantly stops fighting with Teacup and arguing with his sister when he tells him to stop. His time of being in Camp Haven with Ben seems to slightly shifted his loyalty to be a little greater to Ben than his sister as when there was some power grabbing going on about staying with Cassie and Evan or going off with Ben, he seemed to want to stay with Ben. This was noticed by his sister who told Ben that it should be him who took care of Sam because he was the one he really cared about now. Sam is always ready to fight by Ben's side and follow his lead in any fight they find themselves in.

Sam continues to call Ben by the name Zombie even long after The Others' spaceship is destroyed though Ben has been trying to get him to call him by Ben. To Sam, Ben will always be Zombie. He ultimately lives in his care along with Marika, her daughter Cassie, Megan and Evan.


Sammy and Bear

Sammy with his bear

Sam has a teddy bear that he keeps with him all through the waves up until the day he was separated from his father and sister at Camp Ashpit. He let Cassie have it so that she could give it back to him the next time they saw each other. The bear was given back to him when Cassie infiltrated Camp Haven to save him from being taken with the other children when the base was set to be relocated.

However, when he is reunited with his bear, Sam has started to neglect it. He feels that he doesn't need it anymore because he is no longer a boy but a soldier and soldiers don't need bears. His bear has gone permanently over to his sister's possession as it's 'six months ago'. Yet, as time goes on, Bear falls into the possession of Megan and she has taken to calling it Captain and Sam would argue that his name is Bear. She would argue that it was hers now but Sam would instantly say that it was still his even if he doesn't want it at his side anymore.

When Cassie was getting ready to leave with Ringer to save Evan, Sam tried to give it to her because of how she managed to return it last time, but she told him to keep it. Bear stayed with both Sam and Megan long after The Others' spaceship was destroyed. He ended up giving it to Ringer's daughter, Cassie.

Facts and Trivia

  • He is the same age as Ben's little sister (Sissy).
  • Cassie and Ben insisted that Sam stick to one name as it was starting to get confusing referring to him as both Sam and Nigger. It was decided that he stick with Sam.
  • The only book that Sam serves as a narrator is in The Last Star. The very last chapter of the book is in his point of view.
  • Sam is the sole survivor of the Sullivan Family.