Saturday, November 12, 2011
Divergent by Veronica Roth
I predict that Divergent by Veronica Roth will be the next dystopian novel to draw the attention and devotion of teens. There. I said it.
When Beatrice (Tris) Pryor turns sixteen she has to decide which faction to choose: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, or Erudite. Her choice will determine where she lives and by which virtues her life will be guided. A test will help with the decision but Tris doesn't have to follow the results, which is good since her test is inconclusive. However once she does decide her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of the group, and it also threatens to expose a personal secret that places her in extreme danger and threatens to dismantle the whole society. "Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances." (Goodreads)
While Twilight spawned a whole genre of paranormal romances, Hunger Games has ushered in a resurgence of the dystopian novel. Divergent is one of those dystopian spin-offs. Is it a good story? Yes. Is it a completely new and unique tale? No. Divergent reminded me a lot of both the Hunger Games trilogy (Collins) and The Uglies series (Westerfeld). Did I like it? Yes. I liked the story quite a bit and found it to be quite exciting and frustrating in turns. I always think that dystopian novels are frustrating. So that is a good sign that Roth was on to something in this story which is set in a futuristic Chicago. Will I recommend this book to my students? You bet I will. In fact, I recommended this book on the strength of it's plot long before I had a chance to read it. All the kids who have talked to me about it really like the book and are eager for the sequel. Come to think of it, so am I.