Divergent, by Veronica Roth (2011)

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Interest Level: 11-18
DivergentOne of the greatest rites of passage for teens is finding the strength to leave your family – declaring yourself an adult with your own passions and interests. It’s what makes us adults, and for some it happens long after adolescence. In post-apocalyptic Chicago, it’s a decision everyone makes at age 16. Under a new world order, everyone lives in factions based on the best human characteristics – the peaceful Amity, the selfless Abnegation, the honest Candor, the fearless Dauntless, and the intelligent Erudite. But the factions are fighting, and instead of seeing each other’s qualities, people focus on what they perceive as weaknesses. Beatrice and Caleb are siblings just under a year apart. Caleb is nearly 17 when the day arrives. Each is given an aptitude test and told the result. If it’s not the faction of birth, these young people must choose between calling and family. Beatrice’s results are “inconclusive” – she is Divergent, and told to tell absolutely no one as she is in danger. Beatrice makes her choice, as does Caleb. The initiation begins, and the tiny Beatrice makes both friends and enemies as she digs deep within herself to find the strength to survive the vicious training.
Okay, it’s Hunger Games. The writing isn’t quite as strong (so much smirking!), and yet I thoroughly enjoyed this rush. Along with fast pacing and a very tight hand (if a gun appears, you can be sure it will go off), this first-time author thrills the reader lush details and superb character development. Beatrice (renamed Tris) is every skinny, awkward, misunderstood teen who longs for everything she isn’t, and then works hard to get there all by herself. She’s torn by conflicting allegiances, filled with self-doubt, and her forays into love are sweet and honest. A journey of self-acceptance (flaws and all), it’s occasionally too violent, occasionally too romantic, but always fun. I couldn’t wait to see where Roth was taking me, and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the moving is coming out soon so expect huge interest in the two published already.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13335037-divergent

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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