I'll start by saying that YA Dystopian became one of my go-to, favorite genres about two or three years ago, but the past few I've picked up were just okay. I liked them, but didn't get real excited about them. That is because I should have been reading THIS ONE!
Veronica Roth created one of my favorite YA Dystopian novels and I cannot wait to continue on to Insurgent.
I've had Divergent on hold at the library for a very long time (months) and I finally picked it up last Thursday on my way to basketball practice for my son. During practice I'm very busy (team mom), but managed to get sucked in enough to read a few chapters (38 pages to be exact). Saturday I decided I wanted it to be my weekend read so I picked it up when I was done with household/family chores (about 4 or 5 in the afternoon). I finished at 1am - I could not stop reading.
So onto the review:
In Roth's dystopian society, when children turn 16 they must choose one of five factions to join - these factions are the governing bodies of the society. Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, Dauntless, and Candor are their choices. Are they selfless, peaceful, intelligent, brave, or honest - they must choose only one.
Roth has all the typical layers of a good Dystopian novel - corrupt government/society, an overreaching, evil antagonist, an unsuspecting hero, and a creepy sidekick. However, she's done it all with her own twists and turns and with wonderful writing. Reading this story my heart raced and my eyes went over words so quickly I had to stop and reread every now and then - her words just flow and capture.
Beatrice (or Tris) is the protagonist and she is perfect - she's unknowingly brave, smart, and selfless. Tris is a strong, female lead and I loved that - sometimes in dystopias you'll get a little bit of whine or other weak traits to balance out the girl's role, but not here and I'm glad. Tris isn't living in ideal circumstances and she's not exactly happy about it, but she attacks it with vigor and thoughtfulness, not "oh woe is me"!
There are so many strong characters in this book that to try and summarize each would be futile - Eric, a Dauntless (one of the factions from which the teens must choose) leader; Four, a Dauntless trainer and mysterious character; Tori, a test administrator; Jeannine, an Erudite leader disliked by Abnegation leaders, Caleb, Tris' brother; Tris' parents and all her peers and friends - even minor characters are handled with finesse and thoroughness.
Divergent is an exciting, powerful, thoughtful novel about how our best traits can become our worst if not evenly balanced. How our simplest most innocent decisions can be our downfall - can be the downfall of an entire society.
I'm very rarely at this point, but I'm speechless - really good books do that to me. I have so much to say, but don't know how to say it. I'll end with, GO.READ.IT, if you haven't already!
*See this review and much more at Read, Run, Ramble