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.
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
Review: I know. Everyone has read it already, so what took me so long?!? Although I find myself growing tired of dystopian reads at about the rate I've grown tired of superhero flicks (which is pretty quick), this book really grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. Beatrice, or Tris--as she's called, is a character with some serious guts. In a society where you are to choose the faction that you will a part of for the rest of your life, Tris realizes that she don't necessarily fall into one as easily as she's been led to believe. Sadly, Tris is not safe to reveal herself or her struggles to fit into a faction, that is until she meets another boy named Six who has equally disturbing secrets he must keep.
I'm not necessarily an action reader, but the action in this novel really kept the novel constantly moving and helped develop the relationships in the story. In other words, it's not just action for action sake, which is good in my opinion. There are some seriously interesting details to this world that Veronica Roth created, including a foray into your "fears" through induced dream sequences that force you to face things that frighten you, such as ways to die. This really caused me to think about what scared me the most (hello...spiders, drowning), which then made me relate to Tris's feelings and reactions in the story.
Since I actually read this novel and then immediately taught it in my Popular Literature course, I'd be negligent if I didn't mention the relationship with Six. My students absolutely went nuts over it, while this I somehow just saw as another friendship/crush that's in many other books. To my teen students it was the ultimate! I already enjoyed the novel, but their reaction made me take another look at the "relationship" side of the story and had to smile. Listen, who doesn't need their perspective changed even just a little? Yes. They helped me see more in the story than I would have originally.
Overall, I have to say that I loved Divergent and would recommend it to any of my students or friends. The action sequences were really gut-wrenching and leave more questions in your mind than they answer. You would think that would be annoying, but I found it made me want to keep reading. All I can say to that is that I'm so happy that the next book, Insurgent, is already out so I can get reading! If you haven't yet read this one, please try it now!
*FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a personal copy of the book.