Monday, August 13, 2012

It's ok to be Divergent

Book: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Rating: PG13 for heavy content, violence, brief mild language, and a mild romance.

The perfect person is either honest, selfless, brave, peaceful, or smart. Never more than one of the virtues, or you risk being different.
Or divergent. And you really can’t afford that to happen.
Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, takes place in dystopian Chicago, where the human race has divided itself into five factions-- Candor, the honest; Abnegation, the selfless; Dauntless, the brave; Amity, the peaceful, and Erudite, the intelligent. On a certain day of the year, all sixteen-year-olds must take the “aptitude test” to determine which faction they will spend the rest of their lives in. They decide which virtue they wish to strive for, for rest of their days.
Not a big decision or anything.
Only one outcome is possible from the aptitude test. Only one faction. Yet, people have been known to get two.
They are known as the Divergent.
They are extremely dangerous people. They are different from normal. They must all be killed; or used for scientific testing.
The novel begins with Beatrice Prior’s aptitude test day. Beatrice has lived a quiet life in Abnegation with her parents and brother, but yet, she feels like she doesn’t fit in. Not like Caleb, her brother, seems to. She wants to leave, but leaving her family would be the ultimate act of selfishness . . . but maybe she isn’t truly selfless.
First of all, I couldn’t even imagine having to choose one of these factions. Am I selfless? I’d like to think so, at times. But I don’t think I could spend my days wearing the gray pajamas that classify the Abnegation. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I seriously couldn’t. And they are also not allowed to have mirrors. It sounds vain, I know, but how would I do my hair?! Actually, it would probably be good for me. Am I brave? I’d like to think I am, in small circumstances, like in relationships. And food. I’m always brave when trying new foods. But if I see a spider, well, let’s just say there’s not a whole lot of bravery going on there; it’s more like “DAD!” Am I honest? It really depends. Am I peaceful? At times, I think. But of course, I also do love to pick fights with my brother. Am I smart? Well, if you look at my report card, I got all A’s. But is smartness really measured in the school room?
I think I would probably be Divergent, which is incredibly fortunate and unfortunate in itself. I would be labeled as part of a “species” that needs to wiped off the face of the earth. Harsh. The upside, then, of course, would be the fact that I possess more than one of the virtues. The theme of the novel seems to be “can you possess only one virtue?” One character (who happens to my favorite, but I can’t tell you who for risk of a spoiler) asks the question “Can a person be brave without being selfless?”
Veronica Roth is truly a brilliant writer. The themes she incorporates into her novel are so deep and profound. Her characters and their dialogue are amazing. I made so many friends and enemies while reading this book. Oh, and the emotions. Divergent has so many emotions wrapped up in its 487 pages. I found myself whispering words of encouragement to Beatrice, crying alongside her, laughing, and shivering. I felt every single emotion Beatrice was feeling.
Divergent is the first novel in the series-- the second novel being Insurgent. But that’s another review for another time. Divergent was such an amazing read-- it was literally haunting. I went back and read it three more times! Read it, especially if you are a writer. Divergent is a wonderful “role model novel” for dialogue, description, and character development. Enter the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent . . . you’ll never look at honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, or intelligence the same way.
Hunger Games fans, this might be the next novel you're looking for!


  1. YAY for your first blog and book review!! I'm so excited for you!! You are an incredible writer and have such an awesome future ahead of you! Keep doing what you're doing and you WILL go places!!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing all your insightful reviews, Anne Marie! The blog looks great!
    I loved Divergent, too. It raised so many important questions about who we are and how we approach the world--as you pointed out.