The setting of The Wave is Gordon High School, 1969. The plot revolves around history teacher, Mr. Ben Ross, who cannot answer the question of why the Germans allowed Adolf Hitler and the genocidal Nazi Party to rise to power, acting in a manner inconsistent with their own pre-existing moral values. The only way he can see to answer the question is to start an experiment that shows the students what it may have been like in living in Nazi Germany. Ben starts by having his history class sit up straight and obey his commands by, at first, standing at attention beside their desks and having to say "Mr. Ross..." before asking questions or answering questions he asked them. After seeing the students' reactions toward the experiment, he decides to continue it the next day by creating a salute, a symbol and addressing three mottoes he made up: "Strength through discipline, Strength through community, Strength through action." He calls this movement "The Wave". Ross convinces his students to adopt this as a motto for The Wave as they give a group salute. Ross' position of authority is solidified when he commands them to shout it, which they do. Membership cards are issued to all members, with those as appointed monitors having a red X mark on the back of theirs. Those with the marked cards are encouraged to report "all members who don't obey our rules." Wave members fashion armbands with The Wave's logo on it, and begin dressing in similar fashion. Ross also institutes a policy of social behavioral guidelines, unquestionable loyalty to The Wave's "cause", and contempt for those who are not part of the movement or those who don't fall within the organization's guidelines. At first, students are skeptical about The Wave, but after seeing how everyone becomes equal, and that the stress of making choices are lifted, the class falls into The Wave, and begins to recruit others into it. While it does bring students who are members of The Wave together, others use it as a legitimate excuse to bully others. Robert, the class reject, seems to have changed the most due to The Wave - his physical appearance becomes neater and the students grow to accept him more. The Wave puts a strain on Ross' marriage, as his wife Christy, a teacher at the same school, informs her husband that half of her class has been skipping hers to go to his. She orders him to put a stop to it. He refuses, telling her that he's teaching his students the most important lesson of their lives. The organization by now has gotten out of hand, and one student, Laurie Saunders, a writer for the school's newspaper, writes an article against The Wave, blaming it for the problems that are happening within the school. Others follow, which leads to the word "ENEMY!" being spray-painted in red on her locker door. Her boyfriend David (a member and by now fanatically-dedicated to The Wave) confronts her after school one day, telling her to keep her mouth shut. She refuses and the two get into an argument, resulting in David shoving her violently to the ground. David sees how The Wave has made him a more violent person, and he agrees to help Laurie stop it. Laurie and David then go to Ross' home, where they tell him about the problems The Wave is causing and that it has to be stopped. Ross promises to take care of it the following morning, but that it has to be done his way. In school the following day, they are both taken aback when Ross calls all Wave members to attend the auditorium. When Laurie and David protest, he exposes them as traitors and orders them removed from the classroom. They protest loudly as other members roughly drag them to the door. That afternoon, all Wave members enter the auditorium. Ross stands on a stage, flanked by two dark television sets. Among the throng are Laurie and David, who have snuck in. During the assembly, Ross tells the assembled members, all dressed alike and with their Wave armbands, that he has a televised message from The Wave's national leader to show them. Ross turns the TV sets on, but the students see only white noise. This continues for a period of about a full minute, until one student finally stands up. "There is no national leader, is there?", the student shouts. At this point, the television screens finally come to life. The screens fill with newsreel footage of the infamous Nazi Germany´s absolute leader Adolf Hitler addressing a crowd of young people...all dressed alike and wearing swastika armbands. The crowd chants in German words that sound like "Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action!" "This," Ross proclaims, "is your national leader!" The Wave assembly is aghast at the picture, realizing that they have been a victim of fascism and mind control. Students weep openly and embrace one another, making peace for the actions that have replaced friendships with suspicion and fanaticism. The Wave is dissolved by mutual consent by this time. The shocked students drop all their Wave-branded trinkets and items, and slowly leave the gym. As Ben turns to leave, the one person who really flourished in the Wave, Robert Billings, is standing alone, upset that The Wave ended. During The Wave, he was finally accepted as an equal, no one picked on him, he had friends, but his newfound social status is now worthless without The Wave. Mr. Ross tries to cheer him up by commenting on his tie and suit, and they walk out together. Main Characters Ben Ross - An intelligent history teacher who is the leader of the Wave and gets too caught up in his own experiment. Laurie Saunders - An intelligent and pretty girl in Ben Ross' History class, who enjoys and supports The Wave at first but continuously resists it after witnessing the effects it has on free will. David Collins - Laurie's boyfriend who comes to realize that the Wave is bad when he nearly hurts her while trying to force her to participate, breaking up with her while being nearly violent. He makes up to her afterwards. Amy Smith - Laurie's best friend who feels that she has to 'keep up' with Laurie. During the story their relationship becomes increasingly fractured because of the Wave. Robert Billings - A weak and shy student, who lurks under the shadows of his overachieving brother, and is considered the class loser; everyone makes fun of him. He flourishes in the Wave, his first time being socially accepted, and thus tries to defend the Wave with harsh measures. He is very unkempt and does not care about school, until he accepts the Wave and makes many friends as a result. Christy Ross - Ben's loyal, loving wife (music teacher at Gordon High) who persuades her husband to end the experiment. Principal Owens - The principal of the school. He comes under increasing pressure for allowing the experiment to continue. He threatens to fire Ben Ross if the Wave does not end.