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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

25 Apr

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Genre: Dystopian YA

Publisher: HarperCollins

Rating: 4/5 stars

How I got it: Purchased from Amazon at the insistence of a friend

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): 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.

Review: I’ve been hearing about Divergent pretty much on-stop for the past year as it seems to be on every “Books you MUST read if you like The Hunger Games” and “Best Dystopian Books for Young Adults” list that’s out there.  I’ve been meaning to read it, but something else always finds its way onto my shelf first. Damn, did I not know what I was missing. From the very first page I was drawn into Beatrice’s world and was intrigued by her choices and rhe effect they had on her life and those around her. Veronica Roth’s writing is fast-paced and full of suspense which resulted in me frantically flipping pages as fast as I could to learn more of her story.

From the beginning I adored Tris/Beatrice even when I found myself disagreeing with her or her reactions. I identified with her out of place feeling and the struggle to fit into the mold she was expected to fill. And I was immensely proud when I watched her make the difficult choice to switch factions and become a different part of herself. Even though at times Tris was harsh and unrelenting, I loved that Roth let herself create a heroine that at times could be downright unlikeable and yet you were still drawn to her and her struggle. I can’t wait to see how Tris develops through the rest of the trilogy.

As I read through the book, with it’s fast paced action I was amazed and impressed by how all the characters were neither hero nor villain but rather simply human (flaws and all). In YA lit you get a lot of black and white characters (with the hero/heroine being the most flawed or gray character) and so it was refreshing to see a book filled with these true to life representations.

If you haven’t read Divergent, then I’d suggest you get yourself to your nearest library, bookstore or online bookseller and get a copy now. As for me I am not so patiently waiting for May 1st and the release of Insurgent!

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