Tracey Bealer, blogger at Once More With Geekery, has the following awesome guest post: Read Divergent now, thank me later.
With Hunger Games mania amping up to almost intolerable levels as we approach the film’s premiere in a couple of weeks (squeal!), postapocalyptic YA fiction has never been hotter. The problem is, it’s everywhere, and some of it is, well, the Monkees to the Hunger Games Beatles. Divergent, by Veronica Roth, however, is the Rolling Stones of teen dystopias. Much like Hunger Games, Divergent is the first in a proposed trilogy. The novel was recommended to me by my oracle of YA awesomeness, and she did not disappoint. What follows is a spoiler-free plea for you to read it too. The book has been optioned by Summit, the studio that brought you the Twilight Saga, so you’ll want to imagine your dream cast now.
The Deal: We’re in postapocalyptic Chicago, and the population has been divided into factions that come pre-packaged with certain personal and social expectations: Abnegation (selfless, service); Amity (kind, caretakers); Candor (honest, peacekeepers); Erudite (scholarly, educators); and Dauntless (brave, guardians). Each sixteen-year-old citizen must take an aptitude exam that confirms whether they’ve been born into the correct faction, or must leave their families and continue growing up elsewhere. And then there’s a third option: Divergent kids could fit into two or more factions, and must make a choice. That’s precisely what happens to our girl Beatrice.
The Heroine: Beatrice decides to leave her parents (members of the Abnegation faction) and join the Dauntless. Good call. Though the initiation process is brutal, she feels more herself than she ever has before. Along the way, Tris (you get to choose a new name in Dauntless, which is rad) learns that a massive inter-faction civil war is looming, putting her, her family, and her new love interest Four (I won’t spoil how he chose his name, but it’s incredible) in danger.
The Others: Along with Four, Tris’s mentor and crush object, she meets a slew of new people in Dauntless, some of whom can be trusted, and some of whom will try to kill her in her sleep. Tris is also still worried about her brother, Caleb, who similarly left their parents to join another faction.
The Takeaway: This novel combines political intrigue, feminist self-actualization, and super sexy romance into one satisfying postapocalyptic package. I can’t wait for May and Insurgent, the second installment.