Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Divergent by Veronica Roth ISBN: 978-0062024039, Katherine Tegen Books (February 28, 2012)

Plot Summary:

This dystopian novel is set in a future city that has divided itself into five factions that reflect five virtues: abnegation upholds the virtue of selflessness, Amity friendliness, Candor honesty, Dauntless bravery, and Erudite intelligence. Every year a choosing Day Ceremony is held and all sixteen-year-olds choose the faction that they will live in for the rest of their lives. Teens are given aptitude tests that determine which virtue is most dominant in them. Most choose to remain in their birth faction, but some choose to renounce family ties and move to a new faction. When Beatrice is given the aptitude test her results reveal her to possess the qualities of abnegation, dauntless and erudite. Her tester tells her that it would be dangerous for her to ever reveal her test results to anyone. Beatrice heeds the advice and decides to leave abnegation for Dauntless. This decision puts her in competition with others who are trying to join Dauntless and in the path of a trainer named Four. Together, the two of them discover a secret that will upset the careful balance that has always been held between the five factions.

Critical Evaluation: 

Those that enjoyed the Hunger Games may enjoy Divergent. Both books have an engaging plot that is fast paced. Roth gains the reader’s attention by the portrayal of a girl dressed all in gray who is only allowed to look in a mirror once a year. As Beatrice goes through her day, the reader has cause to wonder whether the entire society is dressed and behaves similarly. Roth is skillfully able to use the reader’s curiosity to introduce the rest of the factions and so what could have been a boring exposition, is turned into a natural progression of the story. Roth develops a sense of rising tension as Beatrice first fears that others may learn the truth about her divergence, and then is forced to compete against those who will stop at nothing to win a place in Dauntless. The truth about divergence is revealed in a stunning climax that leaves the reader waiting for the next book.

Information about the author:

Veronica Roth is a twenty-two-year-old debut author and a recent graduate of Northwestern University’s creative writing program. While a student, she often chose to work on the story that would become Divergent instead of doing her homework. Now a full-time writer, she lives near Chicago.

Apart from writing and reading, I like to cook. I’m interested in psychology (especially as it relates to personality, brain chemistry, and group dynamics), biology, theology (lately, the writings of John Calvin and Augustine), fashion, contemporary art, and poetry (Edna St. Vincent Millay is a favorite), among other things.

Reader’s Annotation:

Beatice is worried about the upcoming Choosing Day, the day on which all sixteen-year-olds must choose to join one of the five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, or Erudite. Beatrice is right to worry as her aptitude test results were not exactly standard.

Genre:

Science fiction. Dystopian science fiction.

Curriculum Ties:

N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

Which faction would you choose?

Reading Level/Interest Age:

Grades 8 and up

Challenge Issues:

Violence.

I would make sure that all material was purchased in accordance with my library’s collection development policy and make sure to keep a file containing positive reviews for books that I thought might be challenged. In the event of a challenge, I would actively listen to the parent’s concern and ask if they had read the book. I would then explain why the book had been added to the collection and provide them with the reviews and a copy of the collection development policy. I would affirm that they are within their rights to limit what their children read, but that other parents also have the right to determine what their children can read. If all else failed, I would provide the parent with a reconsideration form.

Reasons for inclusion:

This is a book from a very popular series.

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