Divergent by Veronica Roth
“In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.”
Faction before blood, that is the watchword these days. Amity, Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless and Candor - each of these factions has its place in the order of things after the war.
Abnegation, with their selfless acts, runs the government because if the government is selfless then all prosper. Candor believes in honesty in ALL things and, therefore, has the position of being the law - courts, judges, etc.. Erudite, with their focus on knowledge and learning, provides teachers and professors. Amity provides caretakers and counselors. And then there is Dauntless. Dauntless guards the perimeter fence. At one time they also patrolled the factionless area of the city.
Beatrice (who changes her name to Tris) tries to fit in as an Abnegation child but does not. She was born into Abnegation but when she turns 16 she will have the opportunity to join whichever of the five factions she chooses. There are very few “transfers” at each Choosing Ceremony. Most stay with their own faction.
The day before the Choosing Ceremony, each candidate is given an aptitude test in order to help them make their decision. The test is designed only to help them, not make the choice for them. Tris has some issues with the test, not the least of which is that she is told, in a whisper, that she is Divergent. She is also told to NEVER tell anyone about this. The test says she could be Erudite, Abnegation or Dauntless. Tris has to decide where she feels most pulled to.
Both Tris and her twin brother Caleb transfer factions; Caleb to Erudite and Tris to Dauntless. There was little surprise that Tris chose Dauntless. There is a scene where she describes watching the Dauntless kids at her school arrive for class by jumping from a moving train. She is clearly enamored of them.
As Tris tries to make it through Initiation, she finds herself learning more and more about herself. She falls in love with Four, an instructor for the Dauntless initiates. Through a series of events, she begins to suspect that Four may be Divergent as well.
Tris learns that the Erudite leader is planning to take over and she is using Dauntless to help. Tris and Four join Caleb, Tris’ parents, Four’s father and others and begin the resistance. This is a set up for the 2nd in this trilogy.
Ms. Roth has done an exquisite job of explaining these factions. She shows us that when there is just one way of looking at something, at being, there are issues. Like Four, Tris starts to believe that being Divergent is the key, believing that there are characteristics in all five factions which would help to make the world better.
Themes of growing up, friendship, loyalty, coming of age, government policy, intrusive laws, stereotyping and more are abundant in this novel. Male and female YA’s alike will appreciate this first book in the series. More than a few adults will love it too! Personally, I am looking forward to Insurgent, the second book which is due out in May 2012.