You wouldn’t think it by just reading that, but the quote above is the pivotal moment in one of my recent young adult reads; Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Imagine yourself in a society that is divided into five different factions, each one representing an overall characteristic of it’s people. You are born into the same faction as your parents, but at the age of sixteen you are given the choice to stay with them, or leave for another faction. But if you decide to leave, you can never return to your family. Ever. This is the starting point and basic concept of Divergent.
Here is a quick synopsis (taken from Amazon.ca):
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.
Intriguing, no? I will tell you that the brief little description above does not disappoint! A lot of times I read the quick breakdown and am wowed, but then disappointed. This book is anything but. If any of you have read The Hunger Games or The Uglies series, this is definitely a good next step.
Tris has to make a decision to decide who she was born to be, or who her heart is telling her to be. For her the choice isn’t so black and white. She is being pulled in more directions than one, but in the end she goes with where she has always felt more a part of. The quote above says it all. Tris ends up leaving her family and Abnegation behind her, and chooses to be make her mark in Dauntless. Of course the simple choosing of a new faction is anything but. She, along with other transfers, are put through a grueling initiation, only to find out not everyone will make it. If you don’t make it, you become a “factionless” and have no place to call home. It is an unwanted option for anyone…
This is where I will leave things off story wise; I don’t want to give too much away of the plot! If you want to know more you should definitely read this book. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
In my eyes, Tris is strong yet at time fragile girl. She is another heroine type character, another Katniss to use such a comparison. She displays determination and confidence, but yet has a softer side to her which makes me unable to not relate. While reading this book I got caught up in everything the same way I did with The Hunger Games. Roth did a wonderful job at making me feel like I was right there, experiencing everything the book was conveying.
I have read many young adult novels that have great plots, but that shift their focus to teenage lust and fill their pages with so much making out, sexual tension and sex itself that I find the story gets lost trying to appease to horny teenagers. Side story to prove this fact… when I went to the Twilight: Breaking Dawn part one premier (don’t judge…), the scene in the book where Edward and Bella have sex for the first time kind of gets cut out of the movie. It was very well done and tasteful, but once the movie cut to another scene, all these girls were literally going “Awwww……”, as if they have been waiting forever to see these two have sex. I find that a lot of YA novels steer in that direction. To me its almost awkward to read about teenagers having sex; no matter how much of a reality it is these days.
Getting back on track… Similarly to what Collins did in The Hunger Games, Roth has us feeling the emotions of Tris, and how she slowly starts to fall for Four – this great character who has you liking him, then hating him, but then you fall in love and feel everything Tris is feeling. Being that Tris was originally from Abnegation, you can sense her hesitation at affection and romantic emotions, and in the end it actually makes their relationship very endearing. You can’t help but smile when you read about them, and it makes me very excited to see how their relationship will unfold in the book(s) to come.
Also, like most of the dystopic society styled books I’ve read, there is a “revolution” of sorts, in this case the factions are pitted against each other. I believe this book is meant to be the first in a trilogy, so we are only getting started with how the factions will inevitably breakdown and how the people will rise up. It feels as if Roth is lining Tris up to portray a symbol of the revolution, again similarly to Katniss in Mockingjay. I cannot wait to see where this series goes, May cant come soon enough. The second book in the series, Insurgent, comes out in a few months. Believe you me when I tell you I am going to download it THE SECOND it is available for my e-reader.
This book gets a 4.5 hoots out of 5 on my “who gives a hoot book meter”.
For more information on this book, the series and the author, please visit her site: Veronica Roth She’s pretty hilarious and I love reading her blog. You should definitely check it out.
Lastly for now, I’ve decided to make a new page dedicated to a list of the YA books I’ve read (along with my “wgahbm” rating), books I am currently reading, and books I have plans on reading.
I will do my best to keep it as up to date as possible, so keep checking back! You could also sign up (to the right!) for email updates so you can stay on top of all my blog posts.
Happy Friday Everyone!!!