Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Friday, December 9, 2011

Divergent

In this dystopian version of Chicago, people are divided into five factions.  Each year, the 16-year-olds take a test designed to show which faction they are most suited for.  But Beatrice's test gives three results instead of one, a fact she must hide as it puts her life at risk.  When she selects her faction, she shocks everyone, most of all her family.

Divergent by Veronica Roth was recently voted not only the Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction Book in 2011's Goodreads Choice Awards, but also Favorite Book of 2011.  It's also Left Bank Books' holiday pick for Best Book for Teen Girls.

This first book in an eventual trilogy, spends a lot of time world-building and developing characters, but this turns out not to be a bad thing at all.  The majority of time is spent on Tris's initiation (the first day of which involves renaming herself from Beatrice).  This is full of action, violence (not for the squeamish) and fierce competition.  I was often reminded of Ender's Game.  Pepper in some cutthroat politics and swoon-worthy flirtation and this book will keep you reading.  The relationships are complicated and the characters dynamic.  Tris is a wonderfully strong female lead.  The only way her gender (and size and unassuming appearance) affect her behavior is to set others' low expectations that she continually smashes.  There will be some revelations involving others who aren't as they seem that blindside you, but in retrospect, they all make sense.  (To be fair, there are also some twists that were fairly easy to predict as well.)  Roth is unafraid to pull punches and plenty of room is left for the sequels to up the ante even more.

Divergent is published by Katherine Tegen Books and retails for $17.99.  I bought my copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

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