book review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

The basics: In future Chicago, everyone is part of one of five factions: Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, Abnegation, or Amity. Each year, sixteen-year-olds take a test to determine in which faction they belong. For Beatrice, the test doesn't work. She is a rare divergent, who fits in more than one faction, but she must choose which one will be her home.

My thoughts: I'm intentionally late to the Divergent party. The third (and final) book in the trilogy came out a few weeks ago, and the film comes out in March 2014. After The Hunger Games, I learned I'd rather wait until all three volumes of a trilogy are published to dive in.

First, how much do I love Veronica Roth for choosing those names for the factions? I early await the increased vocabulary of the teens reading these books. I was swept up in the world of Divergent immediately. As I read, I found myself contemplating which faction I would have chosen (Erudite), as if I would really be faced with the choice. I was also struck with how visual this story is. I knew the film is coming, but the action is richly cinematic, and I can't wait to see it translated for the big screen.

I don't read much young adult anymore, and there are some tropes that annoy me about it that are present in Divergent. Tris, perhaps realistically, doesn't understand why a cute, older boy would show any interest her, even while he is showing interest in her. At times she is annoyingly slow to realize things that are obvious. Thankfully, these moments of her self-doubt aren't ubiquitous, and the action is so fast-paced, I didn't have to dwell on her unflattering moments of being a teenager. In truth, she probably needs these faults to keep her from being annoyingly perfect.

Favorite passage: "Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again."

The verdict: Divergent is a delightfully compelling read. Danger, politics, death, adventure, and love are all wrapped up in a compelling dystopian future. While Tris's interior monologue doesn't offer much insight, the well-drawn cast of characters and fast-paced action kept me quickly turning the pages.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 501 pages
Publication date: May 3, 2011
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Divergent from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition--it's only $3.99 right now!)

Want more? Visit Veronica Roth's website and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. Glad you liked this one more than I did. I got bogged by the dialogues and some of the characters too much.

  2. Seeing a great rating from you gives me hope that I'll like this series if I try it!

  3. Thanks for this review! I was also intentionally waiting, and now I'm on the library waitlist. I'm glad to hear you liked it so much!


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