Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Rereading Divergent (YA)

Divergent. Veronica Roth. 2011. May 2011. HarperCollins. 496 pages.

There is one mirror in my house. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.

What my original review couldn't tell you is how much I've continued to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Veronica Roth's Divergent.  I read this one last February, and it remained a favorite throughout the year. It definitely came close to topping my favorite-and-best list of 2011. And was by far the best YA book I read last year. There was something about Beatrice (Tris) and Tobias (Four) that stuck with me. I wanted to pick it up a half a dozen times at least to reread it, but I restrained myself. I wanted to save it up to read it close to the release date of the second book in the series, Insurgent. The truth is the moment I finished Divergent (the first and second time) I wanted, no, NEEDED, Insurgent to be right there for me to pick up. Of course, that was impossible.

From my original review:
Beatrice Prior, our sixteen-year-old narrator, is about to make the most important decision of her life. For two big days are coming: the day of the aptitude test and the Choosing Ceremony. Soon Beatrice will have to decide which faction she'll belong to for the rest of her life. If she chooses outside her parents' faction, she may never see them again. For ties to one's faction must come first. The five factions are as follows: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice has been raised Abnegation, but it's always felt like a wrong fit. Selflessness does not come easy for her. She has spent the first sixteen years of her life practically invisible--blending into the background. But Beatrice has secretly been watching her Dauntless classmates. Dare she admit it aloud? She's thinking of choosing the most rebel faction of all!

But not all initiates make it into the Dauntless faction. Only the bravest. Only the strongest. Only the best. Readers follow Tris (Beatrice) on her new journey. We meet fellow initiates--those born Dauntless, and those transferring from other factions. We follow their training through three stages. They will be challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally. We become familiar with their two trainers--Eric and Four. We see the faction's strengths and weaknesses. As does Tris. On the one hand, Tris realizes she is fierce. She can be strong, determined, brave. She is learning to face her fears, learning to face life. But she's also realizing that compassion and love are part of courage. That selflessness has prepared her for her new life. On the other hand, she sees how heartless, how cruel some are. Yes, the Dauntless have their flaws.

Divergent is an action-packed dystopia. It's exciting. It's compelling. It's impossible to put down. The futuristic Chicago setting has been well-crafted. While only two factions are explored in this first novel in the trilogy, the glimpses we get of this world are fascinating. I loved the setting, the world-building. I loved the characters. Tris is such a great heroine. And Four. Well, I don't want to spoil it. But he's definitely a large part of why I loved this one! I would definitely recommend this one. I think I loved it even more than The Hunger Games trilogy.
What I can add:

There's nothing more to think about. I definitely, definitely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one above and beyond the Hunger Games. It's no contest really for me. I love this one above and beyond almost all the YA Science Fiction I've ever read. And maybe even more than I love most of the adult science fiction I've read.

And I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Four. I do. I just love every single scene he's in. He's giddy-making and oh-so-swoonworthy. (He even surpasses Marcus Flutie, something I thought near impossible. For those not familiar with Marcus Flutie--and why aren't you?--he's from Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series. The first book is Sloppy Firsts.)

Read Divergent
  • If you want to read a GREAT dystopian novel; I love it for the world-building; I love it for the characterization; I love it for its action and drama; I love it for its swoonworthy romance. This is NOT a romance book thinly disguised as dystopia. It's not. I promise.
  • If you want to read a great YA book. I know not every adult will pick up a YA book. I know some are prejudiced against reading YA. But. This book deserves to be read no matter your age!
  • If you want a book that you just CAN'T PUT DOWN. 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana said...

I really need to read this book...

Cleo Li-Schwartz said...

This is a really great book. I loved it too.

Unknown said...

Oh, wow, after that review, I really, REALLY must read this book! Thanks for sharing your re-reading experience, glad to hear you still love it as much now as you did the first time!

Sophie Marie said...

A few of my friends had read this book and said that I should too, but I never really bothered. After reading your review, I feel like I definitely need to get hold of a copy! Thanks so much for posting about it, I really am very excited to read it now!x

Amber said...

I absolutely loved this book. I completely agree with your review on it!