Big Book,  YA


Veronica Roth
Three flying birds…
One for each member of the family I left behind.
Sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to make a terrible choice.
In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris doesn’t fit. So she ventures out alone, determined to discover where she truly belongs. Shocked by her brutal new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.
The hardest choice lies ahead.

If the over excitement of over 70 UK bloggers, falling over themselves to promote its sequel, isn’t enough to convince you of the fabulousness of this novel then, I doubt there is anything I can write to convince you, but what the hey, I’ll give it a go!
Futuristic Chicago is divided in to five distinct factions. At its core, each faction exists to preserve and promote the values it feels are most important for a peaceful society and eradicate those personality traits deem undesirable and dangerous.
Valuing Selflessness about all else, Abnegation would climb twenty flights of stairs in order to give their space in a lift to another person. They fade in to the back ground in their matching grey clothing and utilitarian hair styles, believing to be truly selfless they cannot be self aware.
Amity, who value kindness and despise aggression, are the caretakers and peacemakers in society.
With a hate of duplicity, Candor values honesty above all else. Their inhabitants are trained to spot lies from a young age. Candor do not believe in white or kind lies, they would always tell the truth even at the expense of someone’s feelings.
The protection of society falls to Dauntless whose manifesto is to eliminate cowardice and promote bravery.
Erudite, the teachers and researchers blame ignorance for the failings of society and constantly strive to obtain more knowledge.
Tris, has never felt good enough, never felt completely at ease in the selfless faction in to which she was born. Instead she feels inexplicably draw to the pierced, monument climbing, train surfing teens of Dauntless. Tris has the power to change her entire existence. Along with her peers she is about to make the most important decision of her life; Choosing the faction that will not only define the way she will behave for the remainder of her life, but will determine where she lives, her career options, what food she eats and even how to dress. Before these sixteen year olds make their decision, society will conduct an aptitude test, to guide them to the faction they are inherently suited to.
A fast paced, coming of age story, Divergent is as pumped full of adrenaline as the black clad faction Tris aspires to join. Tris is a girl, separated from her family for the first time, struggling to find herself and her place in the world. Simultaneously connecting with a part of herself which has been previously denied, and for the first time truly appreciating her upbringing and the faction she grew up in.
Initially written off by her peers due to her birth faction and her slight stature, Tris show strength of character, mind and intellect long before the physical training begins to yield results. Unfortunately for Tris, this improved physicality doesn’t come soon enough to prevent her receiving a beating or two at the hand of her dauntless peers and her training certainly doesn’t make her invincible.
In Divergent if you get punched and kicked, you bleed and you hurt, and you’re probably not getting up again anytime soon (at least not without a limp). There are no magic formulas or fantastical technologies to heal your injuries or anaesthetise the pain. At times this gritty realism makes for an uncomfortable read but ultimately it creates a believable and relatable “every woman” caught up in extraordinary circumstances.
No YA tale is complete (at least not for me!) without a swoon worthy male lead to confuse and complicate our protagonists life a little further. Four comes from my favourite breed of love interest; tough, life hardened exterior hiding a super sweet but bruised centre, which only our feisty heroine can uncover. Not that I’m implying that he is a gingerbread male lead, trust me, Four is very much his own man.
Verdict: When you do decide to pick up Divergent I recommend that you block out some time in your diary and stock the fridge (at the very least apologies to your family in advance), because once you start reading it you are not going to want to put it down until the final page is turned, and then you are going to go right ahead and start reading Insurgent!
Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harper Collin’s Children’s Books
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 487
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None


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