From Inside Jacket: In 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. 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves ... or it might destroy her.
My Rating: 5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I haven’t read many dystopians since I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but the ones I’ve chosen to read all have one thing in common besides being good: they’re full of action. Veronica Roth’s debut, Divergent, is no different. Set in a world where people have split into five factions based on personality, Divergent had me eagerly flipping through pages and reading as fast as possible to see what would happen next to Tris, the main character.
The world Roth has created is an interesting one. At first glance, it doesn’t sound too bad because people are trying to cultivate desirable qualities and eradicate those like selfishness, ignorance and cowardice. More importantly, unlike in many dystopians where freedom of choice is limited, adolescents in Divergent choose what faction they’ll join. Roth though does a really good job showing how the concentrated pursuit of traits we value can become problematic.
Tris is a well-developed character who you can’t help but support even if you don’t agree with all of her actions or think that she’s too harsh in some cases. When readers first meet her, she seems meek; but over time, you come to discover that beneath her small frame there is a will of steel. I loved watching her grow throughout Divergent and learn to accept all of herself rather than just trying to be Tris the insert adjective.
Although some of the secondary characters aren’t fleshed out as well, Four – you’ll have to read Divergent to find out why that’s his name – was a complex character. He appears tough and can be a jerk at times but also has a sweet and vulnerable side. Four’s relationship with Tris is a key element of the book and their romance actually progresses realistically (more of this please, YA authors!) rather than simply being one of love at first sight.
At almost 500 pages, Divergent is by no means a small book. However, it feels like one because it is so engrossing!
Divergent was released by HarperTeen in May 2011.
Comments About the Cover: I think the cover looks okay. The flame surrounded by a fiery ring (i.e. the symbol of Dauntless) is eye-catching and will leave people wondering what it’s supposed to mean so that they’ll pick up the book.