Pub date:25 April 2011
Publisher:HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Format:paperback, movie-tie in edition, borrowed via library
Status:Book one of the Divergent trilogy
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Why did I not listen to Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and read Divergent sooner?! Why did I wait until it was next to impossible to avoid previews and potential spoilers?! Miraculously, I have avoided Allegiant spoilers of any kind. I also have avoided all Divergent talk of any kind. I’m very happy it lived up to the hype that’s been buzzing like crazy. Maybe that’s why I’ve been putting it off in case I was one of *those* people who didn’t like it. Whatever the reason, I’ve finally read it.
From theget go of Veronica’s debut I’ve been intrigued by the world our leading lady, Beatrice lives in. It’s obviously vastly different from ours. Her world is divided into five factions: Dauntless (brave), Erudite (intellectual), Amity (kind), Candor (honest), and Abnegation (selfless service). Beatrice was born and raised in Abnegation but doesn’t feel like she fits in. At the age of 16, everyone goes through an aptitude test. Something happens with Beatrice’s results and it leaves her with a lot to contemplate. Choosing Day arrives and she decides to leave Abnegation for Dauntless. Her brother Caleb also chooses to leave Abnegation. He chooses Erudite. This one choice will now make or break Beatrice.
Divergent could have gone in so many directions. Veronica did a great job of leaving you thinking what if? while blowing your mind with Beatrice’s (Tris) path of choice.
I definitely don’t think I could make it through the Dauntless initiation. Tris definitely has me there. The Dauntless are not to be taken lightly. I think they’re all slightly crazy. I would like to explore their compound though! I’m very glad I didn’t have to choose the single path that would define the rest of my life at 16. I’ve learned so much since then. If I had to stick to what I wanted at 16, I would be in law school right now. I also would most definitely not be living where I am now. I would be in Europe for sure. I wouldn’t be married and I certainly wouldn’t have kids. Everything I wanted changed so much my first year and a half in college!
Veronica does a great job with character development. In first person, we get to see inside of Tris’s head as she grows. She’s a person you can easily relate to, though I don’t envy her life. We also meet Four who is an interesting character. I’m very happy there is chemistry rather quickly between them, but not of the insta-love variety.
Veronica also created strong secondary characters. Tris mostly interacts with the other transfer initiates to Dauntless, but we do get to see her interact with a wide variety of people from various backgrounds. I’m excited to see their roles grow in the series.
Veronica’s world building was great too. I’ve only seen Chicago from the air, so I can’t do a genuine comparison, but she creates a fantastic dystopian, run down Chicago. She gives incredibly detailed descriptions of the areas of Chicago Tris explores.
The length may seem daunting (haha, see what I did there?) for those who aren’t used to longer reads, but this doesn’t read like it’s as long as it is. It pulls you in and propels you all the way through. It covers all the emotional bases and covers them well. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to yell. I wanted to throttle a few necks. This was a fantastic read that leaves you wanting more, so it might be a smart move to have Insurgent on hand. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, give Divergent a try! I’m not big on the if you liked X, try X deal, but I do think this will pull in The Hunger Games fans!
About the author
Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)