Monday, June 4, 2012

One Choice Can Transform You--a review of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Would you be able to leave your home and all you knew behind to start a new life with strangers?  That’s what 16 year old Beatrice does.  After taking her aptitude test “Tris” leaves Abnegation for the Dauntless faction in future dystopian Chicago, to prove to herself that she is fearless.  During her brutal initiation, she discovers that the Dauntless, as well as her former faction, Abnegation, have enemies among the 5 factions, primarily Erudite.  Will Tris be able to survive her Dauntless initiation?  Can a 16 year old girl save the world as she knows it?
For all my young ladies who liked Twilight, this book is for you (Roth’s writing is a bit better than Meyer’s—less schmaltzy). For all my guys who liked the Hunger Games, this book is for you (Collins is a bit of a better writer, but Roth’s story is still interesting). I’m not going to give you any spoilers, but I will tell you that this book has just the right blend of action and romance to keep you reading. I got lost in the vaguely familiar world of the book , and I only put it down when I was so sleepy my eyes wouldn’t stay open. A few warnings, though. There is some pretty graphic violence involved, as the Dauntless must face fears of all kind—physical and psychological—so don’t read this if you’re squeamish or emotionally troubled.

The series itself is part of a genius marketing scheme. I scanned the QR code on the back of the book, and found book trailers and an interview with the author (who is, by the way, a new author). The Bonus Materials in the back of the book include a Divergent play list (nice!) and a Cosmo-like quiz on “What Faction Are You?” which was lots of fun.

This is another one I won’t be able to put in the library because it’s too hot to handle here in Kuwait (and that’s saying a lot because it’s very hot here), but I’m sure going to read the rest of them. Divergent was a great choice for my first summer read. The sequel, Insurgent, is definitely going on my summer list.

Awards and Reviews

Best Book of the Year—School Library Journal
Best Fiction for Young Adults—YALSA
Best Children’s Books—Publisher’s Weekly
Black Eyed Susan Book Award
“There is no doubt readers will respond to the gutsy action and romance of this umpteenth spin on Brave New World”—Daniel Kraus, Booklist, March 2011

“For those who loved The Hunger Games and are willing to brave the sometimes sadistic tests of strength and courage Tris must endure, the reward is a memorable, unpredictable journey from which it is nearly impossible to turn away.”—Publisher’s Weekly, February 2011

Vital Stats 
Roth, Veronica (2011). Divergent. New York: Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN 0062024027.

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