Book Review: Divergent

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Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 9:47pm

If you have read The Hunger Games and loved it, kind of liked it, or even remotely had an interest in the dystopian society that Suzanne Collins created, then Divergent should be the next book on your list.

Written by Veronica Roth, the Divergent world takes place in the Illinois city of Chicago at a post-apocalypse time period. The population is divided into five-different communities, each community conforming their residents to live a certain virtue: Abnegation, who are selfless; Candor, who are truthful; Erudite, who are intelligent; Amity, who are peaceful; and Dauntless, who are brave.

At 16, the teenagers of this society can choose which community-or faction-they want to live in. They can stay in the faction they were born in, or they can leave to another community. However, once they chose, they must stay there for the rest of their lives. Those who try to switch factions end up without any community. They are the factionless who wind up in the slums.

Beatrice Prior is the main character is this story. She is born into Abnegation—the calmest of the factions—and despises every minute of it. When she turns 16, she takes a test to see which faction she will most easily fit into.

When the results come, she is told she is an anomaly because instead of fitting perfectly into one faction, she could easily fit into three of the factions. People who can fit into more than one faction are called Divergent. The government is on the lookout to kill anyone who is Divergent.

Beatrice chooses to join the Dauntless, the wildest of the factions, and must be careful to disguise the fact that she is Divergent. She changes her name, her looks and her friends to begin the initiation process to join the Dauntless.

The highly competitive process pits her against all the 16-year-olds who also joined Dauntless. They undergo punishing physical and intense psychological tests that transforms them all. If Beatrice fails the initiation, she’ll become factionless. If she passes, she will make some of her new friends become factionless. One of her instructors seems bent on getting her to fail, or does he have something else in mind?

As she discovers more about the Dauntless, she uncovers secrets that threaten to unwind the seemingly perfect society of factions. “Divergent is a captivating, fascinating book that kept me in constant suspense and was never short on surprises,” said James Dashner, the author of The Maze Runner. “It will be a long time before I quit thinking about this haunting vision of the future.”

The movie comes out in 2014, so grab the book and see what everyone’s talking about. For those who want to keep reading, the sequel is called Insurgent and the third book is coming out this fall.

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