Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

DivergentIt seems like it’s been a while since I’ve read a book I just didn’t have to think about – one I could just read for enjoyment. I really needed something light, and my wife suggested Divergent by Veronica Roth. Yes, to me, a dystopian (possibly post-apocalyptic) book can be considered light reading.

Divergent is set in the futuristic, and partially destroyed city of Chicago. The city is broken into 5 factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Eurdite. Each faction values one human trait over all others, to the point where citizens who turn sixteen must choose between one of the factions, based on their desire to be selfless, peaceful, honest, brave or intelligent, respectively.

Beatrice Pryor is a child of Abnegation parents, who are leaders of the city. But she doesn’t feel that selflessness is her calling. A special test that she takes prior to her choosing confirms that. But what it does tells her will turn her life upside down, and make everything she does dangerous to herself and to her family.

This is a Young Adult book, and it reads like one. The action is fast-paced, the emotions border, at times, on what would be called melodrama in an adult book. But it is very well written, and keeps the reader turning the pages, or in my case, clicking the forward button on my Kindle. It’s a book everyone writing YA should read, to see how to do the things that separate YA books from regular adult books. There are few things that you have to either suspend your disbelief about… you know, besides the whole dystopian thing. I hope that in the next book, some of these questions are answered. I’m not going to reveal them here (because they seem central to plot). But they do make me want to read the next book, which I think comes out in May of 2012.

There is no doubt this book is YA, and if you aren’t into that, then you might cast a scornful eye at it from time to time. But if you do enjoy YA, this is one you should definitely read, and would be a great book to give to the young adults in your family.