First published by Katherine B. Tegen Books in 2011 (this edition by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011)
Book #1 in the Divergent trilogy
Description (from Goodreads)
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
The time has come for me to finally write my review of the book that is possibly the "talk of the year"! (Concerning debut authors) Most of you, even if you haven't read the book yet, have probably seen it everywhere around the blogosphere. The hype that was going on about this book, even from when I had just started blogging and everyone I was starting to follow back then was getting ARCs of this book, Divergent, and then was gushing about it incessantly, telling everyone again and again how good this book is.
All of that hype let me to the decision to actually get the book and see for myself. And the same hype was what kept me from reading for such a long time after buying it. I kept hearing that Divergent is the new Hunger Games a lot and I think the fact that I only discovered The Hunger Games this year (and loved it) made me a little apprehensive about reading it. But I finally got round to reading it.
Divergent is set in a futuristic Chicago. There, all people have been divided into one of five factions, depending on each person's most prominent characteristic. All children are born into the faction that their parents belong to and after they turn sixteen, they are subjected to an "aptitude test" and are free to choose the faction they want to belong to. The main character in this book, Tris, has grown up as part of Abnegation and is now ready to choose the faction which she believes best characterises her. Her choice of Dauntless is surprising both to her and her family and her initiation to the Dauntless faction may be more than she bargained for. But it's what she discovers about herself during her Dauntless initiation that is likely to cause her the most danger.
The book really is beautifully written. Veronica Roth has a way with words that makes you want to keep reading in order to find out what exactly is going to happen to Tris next. She keeps you "on the edge of your seat" (so to speak). I don't know why, but I always find it astounding when (debut) authors manage to do that with their first book. It also makes me a much more severe critic for their next books, as they themselves have set the bar very high. I found the characters to be excellently developed and to have many hidden depths (that actually remained hidden until the last 100 pages of the book). The "unveiling" of those depths were absolutely essential to the continuation of the plot. I really enjoyed having Tris as a main character. She is not sure of what she wants in the beginning of the novel, but seems to mature substantially while she is undergoing the Dauntless initiation process; she finds out more about herself. But the character who steals the show (in my opinion) is Four. Though I hated the name from the first time we meet him in the novel, he really is a great character. You can tell there is something there (hidden depths, as well as attraction to Tris), but the refreshing fact is that he doesn't mollycoddle her or favour her in any way. He pushes Tris to her limits, because he knows she is strong and that she can take it(even though she doesn't know it herself).
Divergent definitely deserves all the hype it has been getting. I am not one for comparing books while I am reading them, but even in retrospect, Divergent did not strike me as "the next Hunger Games", as it is being labelled. Divergent is a story in its own right, despite the fact that it may belong to the same genre as The Hunger Games. I enjoyed reading them both for different reasons and in all honesty, did not find that many similarities. Though, if people mean that it's going to be the next "big phenomenon" in YA dystopian literature (just like The Hunger Games was a few years ago), then ok!
Veronica Roth was born in August 1988 (oh my gosh, she's only a year older than me!) in Chicago and studied creative writing at Northwestern University. Divergent is her first book. The second book in the Divergent trilogy, Insurgent, will be coming out in May 2012. And here is the pretty cover:
You can find out more about Veronica Roth by following her blog.
Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st In A Series Challenge, Dystopian Challenge