Divergent by Veronica Roth
(Summary taken from inside the book jacket.) “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.”
I loved this book! It is captivating, exciting, suspenseful, and action-packed. I really like Ms. Roth’s style of writing. It pulls you in and keeps you reading. The characters are well developed, but there is also a hint of secrecy around them. I liked a lot of the characters, was scared of some, felt sorry for others, and didn’t know what to think of some of them. Ms. Roth did a really good job of drawing the reader in. I was confused with all the factions at first, and couldn’t keep them straight, but by the end I had it figured out. There are a lot of characters and trying to remember their names can also be a little difficult, but it works out in the end. There were some good twists and turns and the storyline is just so different and creative. I really liked Beatrice’s inner conflict. I like how she tried, in subtle ways, to be both her old faction and her new faction.
The premise of the book is very interesting. It has a hint of “Matched”, a spice of “Uglies,” and a little bit of “Hunger Games,” yet it is all its own. I have NO idea which faction I would choose, since I value all of the factions’ qualities. I try to be a well-rounded person, so having to pick one would not be fun for me. The decisions they expect 16 year-olds to make are crazy! I can’t imagine making one decision, at 16, that would determine the rest of my life. And how sad that faction comes before family. What good is it to have a family, then? Aren’t families there to support us and help us? I found it so sad that when those kids needed their families the most is when they couldn’t have them.
I was excited for the first 3/4 of the book that I might be able to let my 10 year-old read this book. It is filled with action and suspense but it is clean…..until the end. Oh man! There is considerable discussion at the end about “physical intimacy,” and it plays a role in Tris making it into her faction(She has to pass a test of her fears. She doesn’t have to actually do anything). The ending is quite violent as well, with main characters being killed.
I really liked this book and definitely recommend it (to those 13 and up)! The next book can’t come soon enough…..
Rating: PG-13 (Discussion of “physical intimacy” and violence)
Recommendation: Probably 13 and up. They don’t actually do anything, it is just discussed. And I think a 13 year-old could handle the violence.