By Veronica Roth
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 her 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.
I really pushed to read this before watching the movie that came out this past year because I can’t stand to see a movie before reading the book. They tend to fill each other out for me, the theater bringing the best of the visual storytelling and the book bringing the best of the psychological and philosophical. That being said, I did enjoy Divergent and could see why it has become one of the more popular dystopian novels. Beatrice “Tris” Prior is a fairly typical teenage heroine. She leaves her family because she feels like she doesn’t fit and is searching for who she is. When she begins her training as a prospective member of the Dauntless she is put through a cruel and unrelenting competition. She meets Four, one of her trainers, as well as the other initiates, some of whom break under the enormous pressure. It’s basically a study in brainwashing and seeing how much abuse a person can take. And on top of that there is some funny business going on with the Erudite faction that Tris’s brother chose and something to do with the elusive people known as Divergents. I liked this book, but I feel like The Hunger Games introduced the uber violence that writers are starting to latch onto, and Divergent really latches onto it with gusto.
Content warnings would be for violence, and mentions of intimacy, some swearing.
This gets a 3.5 out of 5- above average execution