Divergent by Veronica Roth

DivergentDivergent, 1Veronica RothYA DystopianKatherine Tegen BooksFebruary 28, 2012Paperback487

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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Another dystopian novel where nothing is what it seems and the protagonist must show society its errors… but so much better!

Set in Chicago in the not so distant future, Veronica Roth’s Divergent is the new Dystopian trilogy everyone’s talking about. In the novel, people live in five different factions, which are  each “dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue:” selflessness, peace, bravery, honesty, and intelligence. In a world based on synergy, the possibility of dissent is unimaginable. When one of the factions goes rogue, no one is prepared for the consequences.

Written in first person, the author creates an intimate relationship between Beatrice and the audience by slowly exposing her vulnerabilities behind the façade she must wear in public. It’s difficult to describe this in any more detail without spoiling parts of the novel. But I can say that Roth’s literary talent enables the reader to be swept up in the suspenseful and high adrenaline experience.

Similar to The Giver with its idea of choosing a profession and isolated training, and The Hunger Games’ concept of specialized factions, this is a must read for fans of dystopian literature. I actually connected with this more than The Hunger Games because of the autonomy afforded to the citizens of Veronica Roth’s world versus the random location-based sectionalization of Panem in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. I definitely count this as my favorite book of the year.

P.S. The movie comes out March 21st, 2014 (the day after my 17th birthday!) and I’m super excited. Click here to see movie stills, and here to read a cool interview with Theo James (who plays Four).

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