Divergent by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (imprint of HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Age Level: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads synopsis: 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.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Just... WOW. This is a brilliant debut by Veronica Roth. Intense.
I've been working on this review for days. Days trying to come up with something coherent to say about this book. When I write reviews right away about books I LOVE, I tend to get a bit gushy. Ah, I simply loved this book - from the plot to characters to the setting.
Divergent takes place in post apocalypse Chicago, where the government has split society into five factions dividing citizens by personality traits. The factions are Abnegation ( the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), and Erudite (the intelligent). The traits are taken to the extreme in each faction and there is rivalry and tension between some of them. Divergent follows the story of Beatrice (a 16 year old girl) as she decides which faction to join and goes through the initiation process. I won't go into too much detail because I think the synopses give too much away already.
I have to say, I have mixed feelings about Beatrice, the protagonist. Though I was constantly rooting for her, at times I despised her. I could understand why she did what she did though, and in the end I think I can say I liked her. I fell in love with Four, he basically "stole the show" for me. From the time Four walks onto the page I was fascinated and wanted to learn more about him. About 2/3 of the way through this book I wished that I could read from his POV. Funny enough, I read somewhere (sorry can't remember where) that Roth had initially wrote the story from his perspective, but got stuck early on and changed to Beatrice. I really hope that she will release some Four POV goodies, or ideally release a book in the series told from his POV. What I also loved about the characterization is the diversity - thank you Roth! Seriously, fantastic. There are characters of all shapes, colors, sizes, fashion, demeanors, and forms of self expression.
I'm trying, but I just can't think of any criticism for this book! The action was intense, there were times that I caught myself with my jaw hanging open, clutching my book. I would love to get inside Roth's head and learn where these some of these scenes came from!
I can't say enough good things about this book. It is EXCELLENT. If you haven't picked this up already, do so now!