For young adults, sometimes it feels like the dystopian genre is overused; sometimes it feels like the apocalyptic/end-of-the-word/new society story has been told over and over again so that it’s hard to see how new stories are still released. However, Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, Divergent, manages to be extremely innovative and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
Beatrice Prior lives in “the City,” a dystopian version of Chicago, where the citizens are divided into five virtue-based factions: Candor (honesty), Erudite (intellect), Dauntless (bravery), Abnegation (selflessness), and Amity (peacefulness). Beatrice and her family are Abnegation, so they put others before themselves every minute of every day, which is something Beatrice struggles with. On a special day every year, those who have turned sixteen in the past year are required to choose the faction in which they will spend the rest of their lives after taking several placement tests to help them decide. During the tests, it is determined that Beatrice is Divergent, which means that her personality does not favor one faction over another; instead she tests equally into three factions, which is the most dangerous thing she could be. After making the choice that surprises both her and her parents, she renames herself Tris and struggles to survive the intense initiation of her new faction. As the novel intensifies, it becomes more clear that Tris is in great danger… and so is the rest of her city.
Veronica Roth published Divergent, the first in the trilogy, in 2011 when she was only twenty-three years old, which makes me extremely jealous. A prequel of short stories to the series, Four: A Divergent Collection, was released in 2014, a year after the third installment. Her newest standalone novel, Carve the Mark, was released earlier this year. The Divergent series has been made into three movies so far, with a fourth movie on the horizon.
I loved this series. I listened to the audiobooks when I was driving back and forth to work, but I am planning on rereading them once I get through the mountain of other books I want to read. And while many fans were critical about how the series ended, I thought that it couldn’t have ended any other way. I can’t give anything else away because of, you know, spoilers, but there is some respect for an author like Roth. I would definitely recommend this series.
The Aurora Public Library District owns physical copies of each movie and book, as well as digital copies of the books on the Indiana Digital Download Center.