Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
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.
What can I say about Divergent that hasn't already been said? Probably nothing because the only word I can think of to describe this book has been used many, many times before: amazing. I don't know why it took me so long to finally pick it up to read, especially since I had a copy on my shelves for months. I think I was afraid. I was afraid that Divergent wouldn't live up to all the hype surrounding it. After all, I have seen countless remarks from readers and bloggers alike who said this was their favorite book of 2011.
Since I think I was the last person alive to read this book, I don't think I need to go back and discuss the storyline. Instead, I want to take this opportunity to talk about one of the reasons I loved this book so much: the characters. Tris was just giant ball of awesomeness. She was real, honest, raw and exciting. She knew what she wanted and went for it without making excuses. Even when she was weak, she was strong. I loved that for once, a character was owning up to their actions and admitting the fact that they actually enjoyed being violent at times and doing dangerous things. In too many books, the protagonist will do dangerous and violent things, but only because she is forced to. Tris is honest in her feelings and made no excuses for the way she behaved. She is who she isn't going to change for anyone. Whether you liked this story or not, you can't deny that Tris is a powerhouse of a female lead.
Now let's talk about Four. I can't think of a better match for Tris. He is dark, dangerous and from what I read, pretty hot. Why aren't there any real guys like this around? Even though he can be brutal, and honestly, he kind of has to be for that kind of job, he is also sensitive and emotional. Really, isn't dangerous and sensitive the best combination for a guy? The only issue that I have with Four, and it isn't even a character flaw, is his real name. I just didn't feel right about it. I just can't call him anything but Four.
Even all of the side characters (Christina, Al, Will, Peter, etc.) are well written. They aren't lacking in any areas and we aren't rushed along to learn about them. They develop over time, just like Tris and Four.
After finally reading Divergent, I have to agree with everyone else that it is definitely one of the best books to come out of 2011. It is hard to believe that this is Veronica Roth's debut. I am now on the hunt for an early copy of Insurgent. I *need* to get my hands on it. The anticipation and waiting just may kill me :)
If you haven't read Divergent (are there any of you left?) and have been putting it off for whatever reason, don't wait any longer. Stop what you are doing at this very minute (ok, finish reading this post first) and go pick it up. You NEED to read this!