Saturday, June 4, 2011

#48HBC: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Grades 7+ Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), May 2011. 299 pages. Reviewed from purchased copy.

In a future Chicago, the population has been divided up into factions. In an attempt to eradicate war, each faction holds certain beliefs and occupies certain duties in society. At 16, kids take the aptitude test and choose whether to stay in their birth faction or transfer to another. This is a huge decision, but for Beatrice, it's harder than most. Beatrice's test was inconclusive. She is a Divergent. And she has to hide that fact from everyone, even her own family. Because society doesn't like people who don't fit neatly into boxes. Those people might destroy everything...

I don't know if that description really does the book justice, but I hope that it intrigues you enough to pick up this tightly woven, action-packed dystopian novel. I have been hearing some great things about Divergent from good friends, so I bought it as a reward for meeting my YHBA goal last month. And boy howdy, am I glad I did!

Tris (as she comes to be known after she chooses her faction) is the kind of character you can't help but root for. She's strong and capable, she's kind but not perfect (and she knows she's not perfect). And, as a Divergent, she's outside the box, not sure where she fits in. And who hasn't felt like that at some point?

Besides the nicely constructed dystopian world and the bonus of a Chicago setting (since I used to live up there, I had a good time picking out all the landmarks as they were described!), this is just a great teen novel. It's about figuring out who you are, starting to make choices for yourself. It's about Tris's struggle to balance where she came from and how she was raised with the choices she's making in her faction and the person she wants to become. And it's about finding the joy that comes from trying something new, taking a risk, and finding that you love what you're doing.

Oh, and of course there's also a dreamy romance thrown in there. To me, Veronica Roth includes the perfect amount of romance. It's slowly built up (not one of those books where their eyes meet and instantly they're inexplicably drawn together) and felt realistic. And it helps that I mentally cast Sean Maher as the leading man:

I know he's too old, but still!
Divergent is an extremely impressive debut novel and I'd hand this to your Hunger Games fans and, oh, anyone who's jumped on the dystopian bandwagon (fans of Matched, etc.).

My 48-Hour-Book Challenge Update:

Time spent reading: 7.25 hours (of this, 45 minutes has been audiobook listening!)
Time spent blogging: 1 hour
Time spent social networking: .75
Books completed: 2
Pages read: (Where's my calculator?!) 936

I woke up a little earlier than I would have liked this morning, but that's okay. I'm feeling pretty good and I might take a nap later. :)