Veronica Roth
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. Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance. A Q&A with Author Veronica Roth Q: What advice would you offer to young aspiring writers, who long to live a success story like your own? Roth: One piece of advice I have is: Want something else more than success. Success is a lovely thing, but your desire to say something, your worth, and your identity shouldn’t rely on it, because it’s not guaranteed and it’s not permanent and it’s not sufficient. So work hard, fall in love with the writing—the characters, the story, the words, the themes—and make sure that you are who you are regardless of your life circumstances. That way, when the good things come, they don’t warp you, and when the bad things hit you, you don’t fall apart. Q: You’re a young author--is it your current adult perspective or not-so-recent teenage perspective that brought about the factions in the development of this story? Do you think that teens or adults are more likely to fit into categories in our current society? Roth: Other aspects of my identity have more to do with the factions than my age. The faction system reflects my beliefs about human nature—that we can make even something as well-intentioned as virtue into an idol, or an evil thing. And that virtue as an end unto itself is worthless to us. I did spend a large portion of my adolescence trying to be as “good” as possible so that I could prove my worth to the people around me, to myself, to God, to everyone. It’s only now that I’m a little older that I realize I am unable to be truly “good” and that it’s my reasons for striving after virtue that need adjustment more than my behavior. In a sense, Divergent is me writing through that realization—everyone in Beatrice’s society believes that virtue is the end, the answer. I think that’s a little twisted. I think we all secretly love and hate categories—love to get a firm hold on our identities, but hate to be confined—and I never loved and hated them more than when I was a teenager. That said: Though we hear a lot about high school cliques, I believe that adults categorize each other just as often, just in subtler ways. It is a dangerous tendency of ours. And it begins in adolescence. Q: If you could add one more faction to the world within Divergent, what would it be? Roth: I tried to construct the factions so that they spanned a wide range of virtues. Abnegation, for example, includes five of the traditional “seven heavenly virtues:” chastity, temperance, charity, patience, and humility. That said, it would be interesting to have a faction centered on industriousness, in which diligence and hard work are valued most, and laziness is not allowed. They would be in constant motion, and would probably be happy to take over for the factionless. And hard-working people can certainly take their work too far, as all the factions do with their respective virtues. I’m not sure what they would wear, though. Overalls, probably. Q: What do you think are the advantages, if any, to the society you’ve created in Divergent? Roth: All the advantages I see only seem like advantages to me because I live in our current society. For example, the members of their society don’t focus on certain things: race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. I mean, a world in which you look different from the majority and no one minds? That sounds good to me. But when I think about it more, I realize that they’re doing the exact same thing we do, but with different criteria by which to distinguish ourselves from others. Instead of your skin color, it’s the color of your shirt that people assess, or the results of your aptitude test. Same problem, different system. Q: What book are you currently reading and how has it changed you, if at all? Roth: I recently finished Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, which I would call “contemporary with a paranormal twist,” or something to that effect. It’s about a girl whose sister has a powerful kind of magnetism within the confines of a particular town, and how their love for each other breaks some things apart and puts other things back together. It was refreshing to read a young adult book that is about sisterhood instead of romance. It’s one of those books that makes you love a character and then hate a character and then love them again—that shows you that people aren’t all good or all bad, but somewhere in between. Imaginary Girls gave me a lot to think about, and the writing was lovely, which I always love to see.


Reviewed: 2018-03-07
Divergent is a doorstop of a book, clocking in at almost 500 pages of actual story (and maybe another 50 of extra features) with about three words a page. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but I was able to finish this book in a day of quick reading.

Unfortunately, I'm not completely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it was fun, action-packed, and a really fast read. I didn't invest a lot in it, thank goodness, because it does have quite a few faults. First of all, there are frequently terms or concepts that are put out there without explanation. I wasn't entirely sure what the amity faction was all about until maybe halfway through the book, and even then I apparently was mistaken because I read somewhere they were about peace, when I believed they were creative. Not a huge deal, though, in the grand scheme of things, but when I assumed things based on context clues that later turned out to be wrong assumptions, clearly the concepts were not explained enough. I get showing, and not telling, but there was a little more room for telling in this book.

Another thing is that for about 30 pages in the middle somewhere, I liked the underlying "message" of the book. Or what I thought was the underlying message. I was getting the feeling that it was making a statement about change, and how things can start out with the best of intentions, but be twisted by only a few people into something different and undesirable. And then, people started killing people, and I was kind of lost.

I don't want to give anything away, but I didn't really like the violence in the book. Sometimes violence can, when used sparingly (in my opinion), have a very meaningful effect on a story. In this case, it seemed like the fighting and violence were written in for it's own sake, not to make any sort of point. It was gross and gruesome in a way it didn't need to be.

I will say, and this is completely my own bias, that I love when books take place in Chicago, and from the few details, I really did enjoy imagining a future Chicago and what it would look like in the society created by Roth. But, since I know Chicago, I feel like it was easier for me than it would be for somebody who is not familiar with the city at all.

Roth's writing style makes it very easy to get sucked in to the book. There were times when I am sure my heart was beating faster and I was genuinely terrified for the characters. But, I was scared for the characters because I don't want anything bad to happen to anybody, not necessarily the people whom I was supposed to like. Sure, I wanted the bad guys to go down. But that didn't mean I loved the main characters. In fact, Tris drove me insane. She was reckless and immature, and didn't seem to grow at all. Like I said, there were a few moments when I thought she was getting it (when her and Four were discussing the purpose of an exercise) and then she went back to being the same annoying character she was before the conversation.

So. If you are looking for something with a lot of action, and you aren't particularly picky about tons of violence, and you don't expect amazing things, you will probably like this book. If I hadn't started thinking about it, I would definitely have enjoyed it a lot more. But I will likely not be picking up the sequel.
Reviewed: 2018-02-24
I just can't do this.

I just can't.

While the author can write. I find this super cliched.

I just can't connect to yet another YA character who is underdog, super special, save the world variety. Is it too much to ask for some difference in this formula.

Book club is tomorrow. RIP VIII has started. Time to pull out Stephen King, "The Exorcist", and ghost stories.
Reviewed: 2017-07-08
This is the best book in the series in my opinion. There is great character development and it shows really well the reality of if we of if our world lives in different clans because of purely who we are.
Reviewed: 2017-06-10
FUCKING AMAZING!!! I can't stop reading them now.
Reviewed: 2017-04-12

** spoiler alert ** Not as good as The Hunger Games, better than The Maze Runner. I will admit, Roth did make me care about the deaths of the others, because we were more familiar with them, and because they were Tris' comrades from the start, not her rivals and enemies.

But there were more than 400 pages of "getting familiar with the society" story, which felt completely excessive to me. And, because it was getting familiar with small parts of society, I don't have a good sense overall of what this Chicago is real
Not as good as The Hunger Games, better than The Maze Runner. I will admit, Roth did make me care about the deaths of the others, because we were more familiar with them, and because they were Tris' comrades from the start, not her rivals and enemies.

But there were more than 400 pages of "getting familiar with the society" story, which felt completely excessive to me. And, because it was getting familiar with small parts of society, I don't have a good sense overall of what this Chicago is really like -- the drawbacks of a first-person limited perspective.

Some other thoughts: 1. Tris' parents died as they lived, selflessly, as expected. But their deaths still felt somehow forced or like they could have been avoided. For instance, during the attack on the Abnegation neighborhood, the locals, especially with Tris' help, should have been able to know about hidden alleys and passages between buildings to escape and evade. But instead it seemed like Tris' mom just ran out to the middle of the street, got shot instantly, and barely made any kind of diversion for Tris' escape. 2. The early parts of the book are so focused on Tris' fears that she won't fit in, and will end up being factionless (foreshadowing!), I was surprised that it didn't show up in her Fear Landscape.

I don't know if I'll read the other volumes. I'll admit, I might be curious to read Four: A Divergent Story Collection's version of events.

Reviewed: 2016-01-07
I absolutely loved this book. It kept me interested the entire time reading. I first thought it was going to be just like the hunger games but it was a completely different read. Yes is was still a post apocalyptic novel but it wasn't as depressing as I thought it would be. So glad I was able to grab this book and read it.
Reviewed: 2015-11-29
One of the best books ever
Reviewed: 2015-10-11
Actually 3½ stars.

I started reading in a really bored mood. That feeling was what kept me going across the first couple of chapters, that otherwise would have been obnoxious.

It was definitely not a good idea to read this with a fresh memory of The Hunger Games saga. It makes everything seem quite familiar: the heroin, the dystopian-segregated population...
This particular futuristic, pro-peace government idea is LAME, you can see the flaws on it from the very beginning, which makes the plot very predictable.
Another imperfection is the chapter punch lines for dummies, it's like "Yeah. I already knew that. What? Was it supposed to be shocking?"

However, somewhere in the middle, I really fell for Tris. In my opinion, she's a remarkable heroine. Very tiny, defenseless, insecure but brave, benevolent young girl. I like her A LOT. And I like the (kind of) simple love story. THANK YOU, Roth.

All in all, it's a really quick, entertaining read. Good first book. I just hope they do it well enough to justify that second one.
Reviewed: 2015-01-02

I finally picked this up after waiting patiently for not only the movie to come out but for the trilogy to be complete. The idea of having to wait to read the entire series because it isn't out yet is rather annoying, so I'd just rather wait then get obsessive over it. Lets just say, if I didn't wait I definitely would have obsessed over when the next book comes out. I finished this in a sitting... mainly because I just broke night and read through it until the end. It was great! And I am so excited for the movie to come out on DVD so I can pick it up and finally watch it. I have been spoiled for some parts of the movie and some parts of the books thanks to Tumblr and Instagram, but still an amazing read... something I was not expecting. Lets just I have already ordered both Insurgent and Allegiant so I can get right into it. Although it bothers me that I had to get them both in Hardcopy, when my Divergent copy is in Paperback, but you know what... I'm that excited to finish the series. Plus I'm tired of getting spoiled so much. By now you can already tell I loved the book, I loved the world and the story building. I thought it was incredible! I loved Tris as the heroine, and when I say love I mean LOVE. Apart from Hermione, she is one of my favorite female characters! She was just amazing. And of course I loved Four, he was awesome as well! I just really enjoyed the book so much, I don't know what took me so long to read this! Definitely Highly Recommended!

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