Tuesday, June 14, 2011

YA Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)In One Sentence: Nom, nom, nom, nom, sooooo good!

Amazon Description: 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.

The Lovin': The thing about the premise of this book is: I can totally see this happening. The whole faction thing makes sense. People tend to section themselves off according to their beliefs and the factions in this book seems like a simplified version of that. But it doesn't stay simple for long, that's for sure. The factions reminded me at first of the Hogwarts' houses in Harry Potter, but they quickly became their own unique idea in my literary memory (I decided I'd definitely pick Amity, btw). The political conflicts between the factions really helped drive the story and added a whole other facet to the mystery of the book. And, boy, did that mystery stick. It seemed like every time I turned the page, I was saying to myself, "Oooo, and the plot thickens."

Our main character, Tris, is a scrappy, resilient type. I loved watching her change and grow, rooting for her the entire story. Another thing about Tris that you don't see very often in a lot of books is she has flaws. Yeah, yeah, I know, all good characters have flaws, but these flaws were different. They weren't those endearing kind like "Oh, I'm just so shy and unsure of myself" or "I can't help it if I'm a know-it-all". Tris' flaws were real flaws. Flaws that sometime made me wonder about my own thought processes and what I might do in her situation (because this girl faces some pretty serious situations, man). 

Then there's the relationship between Tris and Four which carried so much romantic tension you couldn't cut it if you wanted to. And that tension was different than any other type I've ever seen. In a good way!

So we have a wonderful, unique premise, a main character that we quickly love, love, love, and a boy/girl relationship that is way too fun to watch. What more could we need, right? But, wait, there's more! And I think this last aspect was the real reason I ignored the growing pile of laundry for a day and a half. Veronica's writing is awesome. Like her main character, she is not afraid. She pushes the YA limit when it comes to appropriate topics. Plus, she has the ability to take the simplest words of the English language and make them mean something more. Take this quote from page 303 for example, my favorite from the book: 

That is death -- shifting from "is" to "was".

Bottom Line: This book has it all and I couldn't ask for more. But I am asking for more, "When does the next book come out?!"

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