In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten 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 picked this up on a whim this weekend. Okay, well not completely on a whim since it has been on my to-read list since it came out but I had no plans of reading it anytime soon. Then I was food shopping and walking by the book isle in Stop & Shop and there it was. I don’t know why, maybe I’m still not over the Hunger Games, but I suddenly wanted it.
I finished it about 24 hours later. I just couldn’t put it down. Roth’s writing style is simple and flows so easily that before I knew it I was half way done.
I have to say that I actually like Tris, which is unusual for female protagonists (especially in YA novels). I don’t know why, I’m just overly critical of them. I suppose Tris could have been called whinny at times, but given what she was going through and the fact that she was a 16 year old girl who until that point had been living a soft life, it’s not something that bothered me.
And then there’s Four. I liked Four. I liked how complex he could be.
The only thing I can say I disliked about this book (though it did little to impact my enjoyment) was how predictable it turned out to be. Not the whole story, but most of the little twists I could see coming from a mile away.
Oh in regards to people claiming that it’s a rip off of the Hunger Games, not even close. While I can see some similarities between the two, that can mostly be attributed to that fact that they are both dystopian young adult novels. Divergent is 100% it’s own story, and it’s a damn good one.
**This review was originally posted on my Tumblr on February 17, 2014