Divergent clearly has thrills, but it also movingly explores a more common adolescent anxietythe painful realization that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically.
The New York Times
In this edgy debut (definitely not for the fainthearted), first in a trilogy, promising author Roth tells the riveting and complex story of a teenage girl forced to choose, at age 16, between her routinized, selfless family and the adventurous, unrestrained future she longs for. Beatrice "Tris" Prior lives in crumbling dystopian Chicago, where citizens are divided into five factions—Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite—depending on their beliefs, passions, and loyalties. When Tris forsakes her Abnegation family to become one of the wild, fearless Dauntless, she must confront her deepest fears, learn to trust her fellow initiates, and guard the ominous secret that she is actually a Divergent, with the strengths of multiple factions, and is therefore a target of dangerously controlling leaders. Roth's descriptions of Tris's initiation process are as spellbinding as they are violent, while the tremulous romance between Tris and her protective and demanding instructor, Four, unfurls with heart-stopping tenderness. For those who loved The Hunger Games and are willing to brave the sometimes sadistic tests of strength and courage Tris must endure, the reward is a memorable, unpredictable journey from which it is nearly impossible to turn away. Ages 14–up. (May)
A memorable, unpredictable journey from which it is nearly impossible to turn away.”— — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“You’ll be up all night with Divergent, a brainy thrill-ride of a novel.” — BookPage
Gr 9 Up—In a future Chicago, the population is divided into five factions—Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity—each of which believes its opposite is the root of human evil. Sixteen-year-olds are tested for aptitude and must choose whether to remain in their birth faction or select another. They are aided in this selection by a simulation in which their decisions indicate which faction best suits them. Occasionally, though, the simulation indicates multiple choices. These individuals, known as Divergents, are perceived as threats by leaders who want members to behave and think in specific ways. Beatrice Prior is a Divergent, born into the selfless Abnegation faction but fascinated by the outrageous Dauntless. She chooses to become an initiate there and leaves her family behind, little knowing the challenges she will face. Despite her slight build and her meek upbringing, she must demonstrate her courage in physical combat and in simulations designed to present her with her deepest fears. Only 10 initiates will be accepted, and there are those willing to let cruelty take the place of courage. Beatrice comes to realize that another faction plots against Abnegation and that it may take a Divergent to save them. Roth paints her canvas with the same brush as Suzanne Collins. The plot, scenes, and characters are different but the colors are the same and just as rich. Fans of Collins, dystopias, and strong female characters will love this novel.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
At 16, Beatrice must choose the societal faction she will join. Emma Galvin’s blunt narration of this dystopian novel portrays Tris’s gruff exterior as she defies expectations, her own included, with her choice. Galvin conveys Tris’s emotional growth as she moves through a brutal initiation, making new friends and finding first love. Though Galvin’s narration is concentrated on giving Tris the perfect voice, she never neglects the secondary characters. Poignant moments with Tris’s mother and Four, her leader and love, are subtly nuanced to let listeners hear the terror Tris often hides. When she discovers a plot to overthrow the government, the pace never slackens, and listeners will hold their breath waiting to see if she can survive the day. J.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
Cliques writ large take over in the first of a projected dystopian trilogy.
The remnant population of post-apocalyptic Chicago intended to cure civilization's failures by structuring society into five "factions," each dedicated to inculcating a specific virtue.When Tris, secretly a forbidden "Divergent," has to choose her official faction in her 16th year, she rejects her selfless Abnegation upbringing for the Dauntless, admiring their reckless bravery. But the vicious initiation process reveals that her new tribe has fallen from its original ideals, and that same rot seems to be spreading... Aside from the preposterous premise, this gritty, paranoid world is built with careful details and intriguing scope. The plot clips along at an addictive pace, with steady jolts of brutal violence and swoony romance. Despite the constant assurance that Tris is courageous, clever and kind, her own first-person narration displays a blank personality. No matter; all the "good" characters adore her and the "bad" are spiteful and jealous. Fans snared by the ratcheting suspense will be unable to resist speculating on their own factional allegiance; a few may go on to ponder the questions of loyalty and identity beneath the façade of thrilling adventure.
Guaranteed to fly off the shelves. (Science fiction. 14 & up)