Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Thursday, June 21, 2012

Plot Summary:
In the future, specifically in Chicago, Illinois, society has been broken down into factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), the Amity (the peaceful), the Erudite (the intelligent), and the Dauntless (the protectors). The reason why society is contained in these factions is to eradicate the behaviors that lead to the downfall of humanity; Abnegation fights selfishness; Candor fights deception; Amity fights aggression; Dauntless fight cowardliness. For every 16-year-old, they are now at the stage in their life where they can chose which faction they want to belong to; in this reality, society still upholds the democratic right to chose where teens can either stay in their faction or transfer. However, those who transfer are not only shunned by their families, the factions will see this decision as betrayal. For Beatrice, she has grown up in the Abnegation faction and does not want to leave her family. The only problem is that she doesn't feel like she could fulfill her role. At her final examination, Beatrice learns that she is divergent--she has personality traits that fill into three factions, which is not only unusual, but confusing and upsetting. Not knowing what to do, Beatrice is terrified when she climbs the stage at her Choosing Ceremony. What should have been easy choice, turns out differently than she expected. After making her decision, Beatrice, now named Tris, is re-learning her new way of life and, to her surprise, she makes friends with other initiates and realized just how powerful she really is. What she doesn't count on is her feelings for Four, her instructor, and as she falls for him, she learns about his painful past and uncovers a despicable plot that could the factions apart.

Critical Evaluation:
I really did not know what to expect while reading this story and I was very, very pleased. I am not going to be one of those reviewers who will call this a "Hunger Games" read-alike simply because there is really no comparison. In this world, one city is divided into factions to prevent aspects of human nature that could lead to turmoil. For Tris, she has grown up in Abnegation, which focuses on selflessness and she knows she doesn't belong. Although she is Divergent, what makes her special is that, unlike her peers, she will not allow herself to be brainwashed or controlled. In many ways, readers realize that the purpose of the factions is to rid the world of chaos is admirable, but, as we all realize, that human beings are not capable of resisting temptation. As the years pass by, the factions start slipping where their desire to be the most honest, the most intelligent, the strongest, and the most selfless clouds their judgment. For the Erudite, they want to be free of the Abnegation rule simply because they cannot fathom that an entire of faction can be completely selfless and fair. Unfortunately, the Erudite have just cause when we hear about Tobias' father. However, it's the skepticism that gives those who want to rebel the ammo they need to start a war. Although all of this is in the background, these are the clues that Tris and Four put together as time goes by. For Tris, her training has not only been painful, physically and emotional, she has to battle the prejudice of her peers and prove to them that she is not weak or frail. As a characters, Tris undergoes so many changes, very quickly, that readers just want to cheer her on. I wasn't expecting the love stories, but that's what happens when you put a bunch of teenagers together in one setting. I will admit that the scenes with Four and Tris we pretty hot, but, aside from that, the story is absolutely awesome and I couldn't put the book down. 

Information about the Author:
According to the book jacket of Divergent:
Veronica Roth graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. While she was a student, she often chose to worn on a story that would become Divergent instead of doing her homework. It was indeed a transforming choice. Now a full-time writer, Ms. Roth lives near Chicago. Divergent is her first Novel.

Teen Dystopian Thrillers

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Divergent:
Awards & Recognition:
  • Starred Review Publisher's Weekly (2/21/2011)
  • Starred Review School Library Journal (6/1/2011)

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I really loved Divergent but I hate when the hype of a book gets you so excited for something and then your expectations are sky high. It can be such a let down! Happy reading :)

    micky of Movers San Antonio


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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