Tuesday, December 6, 2011

REVIEW: Divergent by Veronica Roth

I read this book months ago, before we launched the blog, but with all of the recent attention—it was named Favorite Book in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards and recently snagged a movie deal with Summit—I thought it was time for a review here on Book News and Reviews!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Audience: Young Adult/Teen
Genre: Dystopia

Summary: In a not-too-distant future Chicago, everyone is divided into five factions with five different belief systems. Abnegation strives toward selflessness, Amity pursues peace and friendship, Candor practices unrelenting honesty, Dauntless engages in feats of courage, and Erudite seeks knowledge. Beatrice Prior was raised in Abnegation, but knows she is too selfish and inquisitive to remain there, even though switching factions means leaving her family behind. And now that she is sixteen, it is finally time to choose her permanent faction. But her choice won’t be easy. When she takes her aptitude tests, Beatrice learns that she is a Divergent, someone who does not fit easily into any of the predetermined classifications and whose very existence threatens her society.

Tracy's Thoughts:
Looking for the next Hunger Games? This is the book you’ve been waiting for. After a slightly slow start, Divergent is an addictively fast-paced read set in a fully developed world. In fact, I liked it even better than Hunger Games. The post-apocalyptic Chicago setting is fascinating and just recognizable enough to make this future vision all too believable. Even better, there is no annoying, forced love triangle. (Seriously... Did anyone really think POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT!!! HIGHLIGHT TO READ that Bella was going to choose Jacob or that Katiniss wouldn't end up with the every-loyal, always-patient Peeta? Well, did you?)

But yes, Divergent has a romance. A GREAT one actually. The romantic tension between Tris (the character formerly known as Beatrice) and Four is engrossing and unpredictable. Yeah, you know they will end up together, but each meeting and conversation holds a surprise. And Roth does a stellar job of balancing the physical action with relationship intrigue.There are enough fights, chases, and life-threatening risks to satisfy any action fan—and it's not all squeezed together at the end to add last minute conflict like in other popular books I could name. As soon as Tris chooses her faction, she must prove her mettle and survive a series of initiation tests—or become factionless.Tris is gutsy and smart, but also vulnerable and unsure of herself—not in an annoying way, but in a realistic, true-to-life way. She doesn't have special weaponry skills or supernatural strength, but she's mentally tough and really, really determined. I loved her, Four, and the entire world Veronica Roth has created.

Both action-packed and thought-provoking, Divergent easily sets itself apart from the other new books on the Hunger Games bandwagon. Roth writes with an engaging intensity that challenges readers to look at their own lives and consider what faction they might choose. This is a page turner that I highly recommend for both girls and the guys, teenagers and adults. Needless to say, I am eagerly—and impatiently!— awaiting the May release of Insurgent, the trilogy's next installment. Only five more months to go...

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