Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Teens Fiction (Sci-Fi, Dystopian Society)
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
Books Summary: 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.
Side Note: I grabbed this book at the recommendation of a Barnes and Noble employee who told me that the second novel in this series was literally flying off the shelf. Intrigued, I grabbed Divergent.
My Review: Though I am very familiar with the dystopian themes, I had wondered if I really would be entertained by another series that embodied the same plot of a young teen struggling in a post apocalyptic nation. However, I was clearly wrong. There is something completely tangible in such a setting; a vulnerability that seems to connect with us, no matter how many times we come across a film/novel of such. We are saddened, but relate nonetheless. And what I found of these reoccurring themes is the feeling of hope; hope that the child will prevail, hope that the character will not lose its ability to feel empathy, for as I learned from the brilliant author, Phillip K. Dick (‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’), empathy is what sets us apart.
Divergent from the beginning was effortless. Through Beatrice’s point of view, we learn what it is like living as an Abnegation resident—humbled and subdued, almost void of emotion. But in this society as a child becomes of age (16), they must choose which faction they will forever reside in, with the assistance of a test that they will take. This can pose problems if the young teen find themselves wanting to live their adult years in a different faction, for once a child chooses, he/she will remain in their new faction with little to no contact with the home/family that he/she had known growing up. Without divulging spoilers, it is here that the story becomes addicting, so much so, that I could not put this book down.
I found Beatrice fascinating and her choices in her emerging adulthood, nail biting. The interaction between her family was heartbreaking (especially the exchanges between her mother) but the interaction between her and her comrades, fascinating. As Beatrice was coming of age, discovering what it is that she wants and believes in, I as the reader learned more and more of the world in which she resided in. You come to understand her choices and why she feels what she feels. In fact, Beatrice is quite the character in the book, and truly her growth and her realization of society and its false prophets is what gives the book so much substance.
Though there are some scenes that depict graphic content, I did not find any of the material offending. It was as if you understood as a reader, that it was about making the right choices and understanding the consequences of those choices.
In the end, I literally carried this book with me everywhere, catching moments of reading whenever I could. I have not done that in a long time with any novel. Something to be noted… All I can say is that I loved this book and cannot wait to read the second, ‘Insurgent’. One word to sum it up: Addicting. Enough said.