Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
If you couldn’t tell from my blog’s focus over the last few weeks, I’ve been extremely hooked on the teen books, particularly the dystopian genre (I blame Partials). As Divergent is one of the best-selling novels in that category, I knew it had to be bumped to the top of my priority list.
Set in a society divided into five distinct factions, one young girl must make a decision that will change her life forever… and that’s just the beginning! Admittedly at first, it was a tad slow. I wasn’t terribly invested in the story because it read like a lot of other books on the market. Then somewhere in the middle, I’m not quite sure what happened but I suddenly found myself unable to stop reading. Exhausted beyond belief and sick with an awful cold to boot, I managed to keep myself awake an extra couple of hours to finish the book.
There were several elements that I liked about this story. I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy books where the characters learn new skills, and the training that the main character goes through was interesting, intense, and fun to read about. The pacing was also great, and I thought the second half of the book really took me on a snowball’s ride to the end. Surprisingly, my favorite element of Divergent was the love story. Granted it wasn’t the biggest element of the plot, but I found the relationship that developed between the two characters to be incredibly natural in its progression throughout the story. I was pleased because I’ve rarely seen it done so well in the teen genre. It provided a lovely balance to the harsh realities the girl faced, and put the book near the top of the charts for me.
Recommendations: While there are many other dystopian novels that are appropriate for younger teens, I would probably only feel comfortable recommending this one to the 16+ crowd. There many elements that younger readers might be a little too… mature. As always, use your own discretion.
Other books you might like:
- Matched by Ally Condie
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
- Partials by Dan Wells
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner (I didn’t care for this book but because so many people liked it, I feel okay including it in this list. Divergent was actually sort of like what the Maze Runner could’ve been with less false tension and a lot more action.)