Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I practically devoured Divergent in a couple of hours and that happens not with many books. This story cast a spell over me. By now I wished I had Insurgent and Allegiant already in my hands, but I guess I´ll have to wait until Christmas...
I think there isn´t much left to say about Divergent that hasn´t already been said, but I´ll try anyway. It´s hard to sum up the story without giving too much away and thus spoiling my readers. I just say that much:
Beatrice was born into the faction Abnegation and with age 16 you get to make a choice. Either stay with your family in the faction you were born into, or choose another faction that you truly want to belong to, betraying your family and friends in the process. Beatrice does not choose Abnegation on the the choosing day, but instead decides to live a life of the Dauntless. Beatrice transforms into Tris, a brave girl that finds it hard to truly adapt to just one faction. And she has to hide her "flaw": she is a Divergent. A person that is able to think beyond the rules and lies that her society and her government has put her under. Being divergent is dangerous, and Tris has yet to learn what that truly means.
I liked Tris from the very first page. She is the kind of girl that asks too many questions, is curious of her surroundings and questions other peoples actions and motives. I even adored her for her courage to leave her old faction, even though she knew she´d hurt her parents by doings so. (I´m pretty sure I would have chosen the easy way, probably leading a life in regret, never knowing what could have been...)
I found the world that Roth created quite cruel and I wondered most times what "being brave" actually means. From the beginning it felt like the Dauntless have a wrong sense of "braveness". I don´t think it is brave to jump on and off a moving train, I don´t thinks it´s brave to jump from a building, I don´t think it´s brave to beat another person up. All the time I felt like WRONG WRONG WRONG. I was so glad that Tris and a few other characters realised that it was indeed a wrong bravery they were being teached, but in the end some of that teaching stayed with everybody. Yes, Dauntless is probably the coolest faction in my opinion, but the definition of bravery rubbed me the wrong way all the time.
My secret star of this book and maybe even the whole series will be Tris´ mom. It was one hell of a surprise to find out about her and I was so amazed by her hidden spine and bravery that it brought me to tears. Even her father managed to bring tears to my eyes and I was so touched as Tris realises what amazing parents she actually has.
I many ways Divergent reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry. I don´t know if this resemblance was intentional, but I certainly do know that Lowry is one of the favourite authors of Roth. In both novels there is a "choosing day", where a decision will define the future. I just love those kind of reads!
All in all Divergent it a book suited for both Young Adults and Adults as well, and I enjoyed every single second reading it. Divergend ends with a huge cliffhanger, leaving the reader (and me) wanting more.
The Yearning Mermaid says: "To those out there who haven´t already read Divergent: If you are a fan of dystopian worlds then pick it up ASAP! You won´t regret it!"