Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Pub. Date: May 3, 2011
ARC received through Book It Forward Tours
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "One choice. One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever. Or, one choice can transform you. In Veronica Roth's debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance."
Beatrice, or Tris, is sixteen years old and at this age all members of her community must decide who they are and where they fit in society as this choice defines them in many ways. There's factions: Abnegation, which is the faction she grew up in, Dauntless, Amity, Candor, and Erudite. Being raised in Abnegation was challenging as it's a selfless faction and Tris never really felt good enough and self-sacrificing enough to fully fit into this community; however, she doesn't necessarily want to leave her family behind. Because if and when you choose a new faction at sixteen, you rarely, if ever, get to see your parents again and this is a decision that Tris doesn't take lightly. One the most important days for Tris occurs when her community makes their faction recommendation. Tris makes a startling discovery. After the simulation, it is reported to her that she is a Divergent, meaning she falls in more than one faction, which is considered extremely dangerous. Veronica Roth's spine-tingling debut, Divergent, is a roller coaster ride of emotions as readers follow Tris's whirlwind decision as well as journey that undoubtedly changed her life forever.
Roth's world is so unique and terrifying at the same time. It takes place in Chicago, one of my favorite cities, and her descriptions of what the once beautiful city has come to was startling. I wish she had given the readers more background on how the factions came about, but perhaps she will in the next book. Nonetheless, Roth creates an unforgettable and eerie world that truly stayed with me.
The character of Tris was pretty intense as well. I can see why many people are saying that this book is along the same lines as Hunger Games as Kantiss and Tris both have many similarities. However, for me, there was something missing in Tris. I enjoyed her and I was most definitely rooting for her, but I couldn't connect with her as much as I did with some other heroines out there.
One thing I wasn't really prepared for was all the violence, which sounds silly, I know. I mean Hunger Games was violent as well as Maze Runner, which are two of my favorite books, but the violence in Divergent felt different to me. There was a lot of bloodshed, death and fighting; this book was definitely action packed. I didn't mind it, but it took me by surprise.
The writing was captivating and quite impressive, I might add, as Roth was only twenty-one when she wrote this book. My only complaint regarding the writing was towards the end, it felt rushed. Without giving anything away, there's a horrific event that occurred and I feel like it was a bit brushed over by Tris. On the other hand, one thing is for sure: Roth knows how to keep her readers in suspense. This book is one of the most suspenseful books that I've read in a long time and I'm not talking edge of your seat....I'm talking gripping the book while my knuckles turn white, cringing at every page turn, anger boiling over, my heart pounding and racing a mile a minute...you get the idea. This book was intense. Seriously intense.
Fans of The Uglies, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Delirium and Matched will enjoy Divergent. I realize it doesn't come out until May, but this is definitely a book you want to pre-order if you can't get enough of dystopian literature. I'm going to be honest....I don't think this book will give Hunger Games a run for its money, but I think that it will fill a void for many fans out there who need their Katniss fix. I can see many of my students enjoying this one! As for me, I will be taking a break from dystopian thrillers--I think my blood pressure will thank me!
*Watch an interview with Veronica Roth