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Book Review

‘Divergent’ is more than a ‘Hunger Games’ knock-off

12/25/2013

bookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Julie Goodrich               

Simon and Schuster

Oct. 1, 2013

$28

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304 pp.

“Divergent” is the next big thing in dystopic fiction — complete with conflicted heroine, dramatic setting, moral ambiguity and the ubiquitous passionate romance, this book will appeal to “The Hunger Games” fans. However, “Divergent” stands on its own thanks to nonstop action, a twisting plot and excellent writing.

The protagonist is Beatrice, who lives in a community that values extreme selflessness. Roth has created a society that divides its citizens up between five insular communities based on the attributes they hold in the highest regard. The issues inherent in the system are obvious. The allegory and conflict are sharp and defined, a rarity in the world of young adult books.

Beatrice is about to undergo a test that will help her determine which community she will live in for the rest of her life. The deceptive test reveals a lot more, however, showing her to be independent, incapable of having just one primary attribute. She is “divergent,” considered by the government to be dangerous, an aberration and a criminal. She must hide her status and does so by abandoning her beloved family and joining the Dauntless community, whose members value extreme bravery. What follows is a violent, passionate, exciting coming-of-age for the heroine, now known as Tris. In the process of finding her strengths, she uncovers secrets that could destroy her world.

Fast-paced, intense, romantic and gilded with lessons in learning to love thy self, this book is a gem in the world of young adult novels. Hurry and read it before the movie hits theaters this March! CV               

Julie Goodrich is a collector of pretty words, geeky T-shirts and obsolete college degrees. She lives in Grimes with two weird cats and an obscene number of books. She recently earned a shiny new master’s degree in library science and is actively looking for a job; know of one? Call her!

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