Divergent by Veronica Roth
published May 2011 by HarperCollins
496 pages (hardcover), YA
Dystopian Chicago. Need I say more?
That's all I needed. Perhaps you require a little extra.
Beatrice is at that delicate, life-changing age, 16, when she needs to decide what to make of herself. Which of the five factions of the city (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite) will she choose to dedicate her life to? She was brought up in Abnegation, with her selfless parents and brother, but she's never quite fit in. She's curious, asks too many questions, and doesn't always think of others before herself. So, at her choosing ceremony, Beatrice gives up her family ties and joins the daredevil Dauntless. But to prove herself to this new faction, Beatrice, now Tris, has to go through a series of trials that will truly test her strength, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Plus she has a BIG secret to hide. And a budding love interest with one of her trainers. And the possibility that she will die before she proves herself as a member of Dauntless. Woo!
I can't hide how much I loved this book. Picture this - a Thursday after school. No errands to run. No lesson plans to write. No new shows on the television. Time! Time to read! Curled up on the couch with my very own copy of Divergent (which I've had since the summer; yes, shame on me). I start reading and can't stop. A tweet, quick dinner, and six hours later, the book is finished, and I'm thoroughly sated. Time for bed! That, my friends, is what I call a luxurious evening at home. I haven't had one in a long while and was so happy to share it with this wonderful book.
Lots of people have compared Divergent to The Hunger Games, and okay, I guess I see that. They're both dystopias. They're both rather violent. But the world in Divergent appeals to me much more. Maybe because it's set in Chicago. Maybe more because although it's a dystopia, there's SO MUCH HOPE. I don't know how Veronica Roth made me feel so hopeful, especially in the depths of Dauntless (which is definitely not the faction I would choose :shudder:), but she did. Tris is one strong female, and I believe she can change the whole system. The factions were originally created to play on the good, to have people specialize in these ideal character traits so that they could rid society of all the bad. But over the years it has turned into a competition instead of collaboration, and what used to be good about each faction is now lost in the struggle to remain relevant and most of all, powerful. It's all so complex and political, and I love it.
I'm really late to the conversation about this book (hey, I was in Italy! and then work took over my life...), but if you honestly haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? Easily one of the best books of the year. School Library Journal says so too.
Four purple crayons for a new dystopian trilogy that I can't wait to keep reading! Insurgent comes out in May 2012!