Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review - Divergent, by Veronica Roth

In Divergent, by Veronica Roth, Chicago has been overrun by war and conflict, and five factions have been formed: Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), and Dauntless (the brave). When you're sixteeen you are given a test to see which faction you belong in. Still, if you want, you can choose whichever faction you prefer. The choice is yours.

But there's a catch: Once you choose, that's it. If your family is in a different faction, too bad. You can see them on visiting day, but your life is now about the faction you live in. And first you have to train and take some really awful tests to be accepted by this faction. If you fail you wind up factionless, which is a fate worse than death.

The main character, Beatrice, picks Dauntless rather than sticking with Abnegation, which is what her parents belong to and where she's been raised. But a whole host of other problems present themselves, including the knowledge that Beatrice is "divergent" - meaning she doesn't just belong in one faction. I won't tell you why that's a problem (it would ruin the story) - but believe me, it's a really big problem.

So, I loved this book. It had great suspense, and it was original and fun. If you liked The Hunger Games then you will like this too. I did spend a lot of time trying to figure out which faction I would be in. Where's the faction for sarcasm and love of fiction? I thought maybe I'd go for Amity, because that's the only faction that seems to value art and creativity, but what if it's full of perky, Trader Joe's type people who judge you for your cynicism? That would suck.

Anway, I picked this up because as an English teacher, I wanted something new to read to my 10th graders at the top of each hour. This seemed like a good choice because the chapters are short, the suspense is high, and it will appeal to both males and females. I wasn't disappointed, and I can't wait to read it to my students. There are tons of discussions we can have about society, personal repsonsibility, and identity, which are all themes in this book. I highly reccomend it for any age. It's just that good.

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