Review: ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth

"Divergent" by Veronica RothNo wonder all my female high school students told me I had to read Veronica Roth’s book “Divergent.” No wonder I could never quite keep it on my classroom library shelf. No wonder all the girls who read the first one cheered when the second book in the series “Insurgent” finally came out last year. No wonder they kept asking me when the third book “Allegiant” would be out.

If you know any teenage girl who read “The Hunger Games” and loved one of the books or all of the trilogy, and you haven’t seen this particular teenage girl reading anything lately because she can’t find anything that is as good as “The Hunger Games,” you need to hook this particular girl up with Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy.

Do it now before the spring 2014 movie hype (watch the movie trailer), and the last book in the trilogy, called “Allegiant” (release date October 22, 2013), hits book stores. The loud whir of teenage girl hysteria will reach a high squeal at this point, and there may be too many spoilers for a true reading experience.

I am not a teenage girl, but I really enjoyed “Divergent” and Roth’s imaginative post apocalyptic Chicago society where each 16 year old, at the Choosing Ceremony, must decide which of the five factions that they want to belong to:

  • Candor: The Honest
  • Abnegation: The Selfless
  • Dauntless: The Brave
  • Amity: The Peaceful, or
  • Erudite: The Intelligent

This one choice directs their path for the rest of their lives. If a 16-year-old chooses their family’s faction, they are treated better than if they essentially defect from their family faction and join a new identity.

The faction aptitude test for Beatrice Prior, 16, – designed to help the teenagers choose their fate and faction — was deemed inconclusive and “divergent” (a word not to be mentioned or talked about in the society, as her test administrator tells her “divergence is extremely dangerous”).

Prior decides to go against her Abnegation faction and instead chooses to join Dauntless, whom her father calls “the hellions” due to their fearless, almost reckless, adrenaline junkie ways. Beatrice, who nicknames herself Tris, must first pass the violent and mentally exhausting initiation to be accepted as Dauntless and rank well enough not to be cast out as factionless.

The concept is very much like “The Giver,” or “Anthem,” or “The Hunger Games” or many dystopian society books, but Roth also adds the angsty teenage female touch that makes this like reading a dystopian Sarah Dessen book. Girls will drool over Four, one of the initiation leaders in Dauntless who chooses to both humiliate and protect Tris from the more blood-thirsty leaders and initiates. They will gush over the love story painted through the characters who are suffering and surviving in a very divided world where certain factions are deemed weak, while others are morphing into something they were never meant to be.

I finished this book quickly. I felt breathless during some of the Dauntless initiation tasks. I got a little gooey with the blossoming of new love. As a grown woman, I did feel myself sometimes internally cringing at all the teenage love stuff, but… I still read it and enjoyed this page turner.

In Roth’s dystopian society, she uncovers many truths of humanity — like what divides us is usually what unites us, that we all contain traits of each faction, and the age-old question: is blood truly thicker than water?

As soon as I finished “Divergent,” I quickly picked up “Insurgent” and am already half way through it. I already pre-ordered the third installment, “Allegiant,” which will be out later this month.

If you have a teenage girl who needs a good book, get her hooked on this series. She’ll thank you for it.

Also of interest:
– Read other reviews from Thiegs on Book Buzz.
– Read more from Thiegs at her book review blog, stageoflifebooks.blogspot.com.
– Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ tops YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten list.

About Rebecca Thiegs

Rebecca Thiegs is a former Red Lion Area High School English teacher who lives in Dallastown. Rebecca and her husband, Eric, run the online journal and blogging community Stage of Life.
This entry was posted in Best-sellers, Book review, Books made into movies, Dystopia, Fiction, Recommended, Teen books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Review: ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | Review: ‘The Bone Season’ by Samantha Shannon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>