Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)

Author: Veronica Roth, 2011

“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

I succumbed to peer pressure. Usually, I try to avoid YA books. I lived through high school once and the thought of reading about hormone driven drama sends a shudder through me.  But this book isn’t like that, they promised me, and they were right.

DivergentIn Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is 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). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. (Harper/Collins Publishers)

After a slow opening scene the plot moves quickly and the characters are engaging. I related to the heroine as someone who is short and doesn’t quite fit into a mold created by someone else so she was easy for me to like. The author, I think, does a good job of explaining what is going on and why it is important. This book is fun, action packed and if you allow yourself to become part of the book your adrenaline will pump from the excitement. There are people catching trains that don’t even stop, jumping from moving trains onto buildings and hopefully landing!

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. (Harper/Collins Publishers)

The mom in me is still on the fence as to whether or not I want my preteen to read this because of the violence. There are fighting scenes that I felt were too descriptive, but this generation of kids are pretty desensitized to violence so maybe it’s not really a big deal. The language is very mild, the alcohol references are few, and there are kissing scenes and some skin touching just under the shirt, but backs off before things get too serious. According to Amazon the reading level is 14 and up and I agree with that. I think the part I like most about this book is there is no love triangle. No, the triangle is between Tris, Good, and Evil. That is a triangle worth reading.

Related books: Insurgent (Divergent #2), Veronica Roth; Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Matched, Ally Condie; Delirium, Lauren Oliver; Enclave, Ann Aquirre