Veronica Roth's debut novel shows what one girl is willing to go through when she discovers her true self:
In the dystopia world of Chicago the city has been 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). When an individual turns 16 they enter into the tests to determine which faction they will spend the rest of their life in. Today is Beatrice Prior's selection day she has lived in Abnegation her whole life and she is about to do something that no one saw coming, not even herself, she is going to leave her faction, her family to join the dauntless the complete opposite of her faction. Tris is about to test every limit she has but she also never felt more herself or at home. Tris knows that she must keep her Divergence a secret but as unrest grows in the factions, Tris will have to risk her own life to save those she cares about.
This book really surprised me, I thought it would be okay, another author trying to clasp onto the people drawn to books like the Hunger Games series but the book would not quite get there. However, I actually found myself drawn to Tris' personality and I found the story well thought, with an interesting world (nothing ground breaking and similar in ways to the Hunger games but interesting), characters and plot. I'm always happy when a book can surprise me into liking it so I give Roth big props for that. I was also shocked at some of the darker topics that Roth decided to focus on throughout the novel. She was not afraid to touch or have full scenes that dealt some harder subjects like child abuse, bullying, and even torture, that many YA authors shy away from.
Once again I was surprised that I liked Tris as a character. Normally I find YA characters too teeny for my taste, but Tris was the right mix of strength and naivety. Though she may never have had a real relationship and just looking at Four may make her feel like she had butterflies inside, I found that she actually handled their relationship quite maturely compared to other main female protagonists in this genre. I think I am going to like watching Tris grow as a character and the more that she is able to discover about herself and her abilities as Divergent (though I do question how this designation will help her outside of the test simulations, but I guess that is for the other books to show).
I think that one of my favorite parts within this book is that the characters do not have any actual powers or special abilities, though some people are more prone to be part of different factions than others, this is not seen as a hindrance or ability, just who they are. While Tris is Divergent, this really only means that she has a mind that is more capable of assessing a situation to find the best solution and often thinking outside the box to achieve this solution. I think if you really think about it, Roth has made the greatest ability in her book is a person who can think for themself, adapt to changing situation and be loyal to those they care about. I don't think there is a better suited role model for young adult girls out there.
To sum everything up as an adult reading this book I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the concept and the characters. Were there times when I rolled my eyes about a choice or two that Tris made, sure, she is after all a teenager. However, I was really impressed with choices that Roth made throughout the book not only to the plot, but also the character building of Tris. I know I am going to read the other books in this series, I hope that Roth can keep it up.
On a side note I watched the movie (well most of it) and I personally found it lack luster. It did not capture half of what the book was able to portray. I found there were too many changes, the characters in the movie fell flat and the plot did not flow as well as in the book. I know they are making the other books into movies as well, but compared to the hunger games movies, I think you can pass on the Divergent ones.