Divergent by Veronica Roth
May 3, 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
Hardcover, 487 Pages
Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. .
A dystopian Chicago sets the scene for Beatrice’s (Tris) story, where she has lived a quiet upbringing with her parents and brother in a faction called Abnegation. They are selfless and quiet and control most of the food supply for the remaining factions. They wear dull colors and keep things simple. Although Beatrice loves her family, being humble is a daily commitment and craving the freedom she sees the Dauntless children enjoying has always been in the forefront of her mind. Every teenager in Tris’s world faces a day of testing and sorting for their future placement in life. After evaluation is done, each teen is giving a recommendation of what factions would best suit them. Being able to pick from five- Abnegation (selfless)- Dauntless (Brave)- Candor (Honest)- Amity (Peaceful)- or Erudite (Smart)- they can choose to stay with their family’s in the faction they were raised in or they can pick another, which will separate them from their parents for good. So when the big day comes for Tris, longing outweighs her parents and she chooses to become Dauntless.
Being Dauntless will test her physically, mentally and emotionally. As the training will separate the new recruits from the ones who stay and the ones who become the factionless, a fear worse than death to most of the teens entering new factions- the competition will be brutal and some of the teens will do whatever it takes to become number one. As Tris pushes herself to become brave (an inner mental ability she’s always had) and learns to live life as a dauntless she will also struggle against those who are trying to hurt her and to hide a secret that could get her killed. As bonds are formed and enemies are made, Tris will have to be on top in order to survive.
So who hasn’t heard of or read Divergent this year? I normally wait until hype dies down for a book to read and review it, but after seeing my 15 year old do cartwheels (not really) and telling me I HAVVVEEEE to read it, I went ahead and devoured the book in one day. By far the best dystopian I’ve read this year, I think Roth brought excitement to a genre so overdone in the YA market and rose above the many dystopians and apocalyptic books flooding the book-scene. The biggest and most important aspect I took from Divergent was its main characters integrity, nothing can compare to a character who can overcome atrocities or life threatening obstacles with courage and bravery. Tris earns a spot in the strong female department, one who risked everything to gain everything without cheating or hurting another and came out stronger than she was before, putting her in leagues with characters like Katniss (Hunger Games) and Gabi (Waterfall). Females who not only bring the story to life for the readers but also display rare role-models in an endless cycle of booty shaking skanks influencing young girls today. I think a girl who can use her brain, her strength, her determination and courage can be much more respected than a girl who uses her breasts, her sexuality or her tight clothing. Sometimes the girl who can fight, read and keep her sexuality in the bedroom wins the guy and might even save the world in the end.
Intense action, sometimes disturbing violence and a brutal ending, left me shocked, spinning and anticipating for the next one. If you read any dystopian this year make it Divergent!!
Divergent can be read by mature teens and adults (14-up) and contains: Violence-including- war, gang violence, training combat, death-murder, mild sensuality, facing fears such as claustrophobia, heights and adrenaline type aspects.