By Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2011. 487 pgs. Young Adult
Chicago is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each faction exemplifies the behaviors and attitudes that they think will most benefit the world and combat the problems of human nature. At sixteen, teens are given an aptitude test that tells them which attributes they have, followed by a ceremony where they choose which group to remain with for the rest of their lives. Most people have one dominant attribute, but Beatrice Prior, who has been raised by her Abnegation parents and community, isn't sure she's selfless enough to stay with that faction. When her aptitude tests reveals that she has multiple dominant attributes, meaning she is divergent (something she has never even heard of before), she must choose which faction to join--as well as hide the fact that she's divergent, as she's been warned that her life depends on no one finding out her secret. Tris makes her choice, changing her name along with her alliances, and trains for her new faction. She struggles to know who to trust and starts to fall in love but also realizes that everything could be ripped away but a group that is ready to overthrow their way of life.
Some books just hook you, and some don't. For me, this one definitely did. I think this has the potential to be the new Hunger Games--the trilogy that everyone has to read and can't stop thinking about. With an intriguing dystopian world, engaging characters, action, adventure, romance, and more, there's not much that this book doesn't have. I will say that I thought the end of the book, where we see the conflict really unfolding, as the rebel group begins rolling out their plans, went by too quickly for me and was actually too easily resolved. Obviously, there's going to be a lot more going on in the next books, but I would have liked to see a little more in this one, as it all plays out in a matter of a few hours. On the other hand, Tris's training and personal growth and conflicts were explored in much more detail and over time, so the juxtaposition just made the larger, societal conflict seem glossed over. Still, I'm hooked, and I can't wait to see what happens next! A great choice for anyone who liked The Hunger Games, dystopia, romance, action, or kick-butt characters. This is one of those ones that you don't want to bring back to the library...but you have to so the next person can enjoy it as much as you did!