In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Yes, there is a ton of hype around this book. But RIGHTFULLY SO. It's so freaking good.
I wasn't sure if I would love it as much as everyone else was loving it. I'm a contemporary girl, and I'm going through a little bit of dystopian fatigue at the moment. So, despite the raves, I went in with low expectations...and this book blew them all away.
I don't even know where to start with this one. Tris is an amazing character. She's tough and strong and then my favorite quality...she's selfish. She doesn't sit around wondering if she's letting down everyone she loves. She doesn't waffle back and forth on the simplest decisions. She kicks ass and takes names and does what she needs to do with few regrets. I love that about her. It's rare I would be applauding a character's selfishness, but she's just a breath of fresh air for me.
Then there is Four. Holy cats, the swoon in this book is off the charts. Four is sex on a stick, and Veronica Roth creates the most amazing scenes between them. You know a swoony scene is hot when I have to go back and read it again because I can't get it off of my mind. Well, there were several of those scenes in this book, and I still can't stop thinking about them!
Every single character in this book is so well developed and awesome and just REAL. (One word for you: AL.) I enjoyed being with all of them, and they all had flaws and stories and I felt like I knew them.
There's also the world building. I loved this world that she created. The factions were fascinating! It didn't take me long to choose a faction for myself (Amity), and I was so interested to learn more about each of them and how they functioned. (How the factions functioned. Heh.) I felt so grounded in Roth's Chicago that I never questioned where she was taking me. And even when I did have an issue or two with some plot element or another, it didn't even bother me because I just TRUSTED her and her world building and her writing so much that I just went with it.
I really could talk about this book all day. It's amazing. It's not your cookie cutter dystopian, and it is totally worthy of all of the praise it is getting.
Anyway, if you haven't read this book yet, you need to! So, thanks to the amazing Martha Flynn*, I have a copy of Divergent to give away! All you have to do is tell me in the comments that you want it, and I'll pick a winner at random next Friday 6/3.
*I was lamenting my book buying freeze on Twitter and jokingly begged someone to buy me a copy of this book so I could read it. Well, don't you know that the amazing Martha sent me a copy for myself and a copy to give away...and a mysterious benefactor (thank you so much, mysterious benefactor! You rock!) sent me a copy for my classroom! Divergent for everyone! I have a student who has already read the classroom copy and we had a gush session over it. There is now a waiting list.