I know, I know…another young adult bit of fluff, but indulge me and let me explain why the Divergent series deserves more than a second glance.
What do you do when your choices lead you away from your family? Divergent by Veronica Roth is essentially a coming of age story that looks at the tension between your family and choosing a different path. This makes it universal, more so than something like The Hunger Games perhaps, which it is often compared to. I personally preferred Divergent to almost any dystopian young adult novel I have read recently, including The Hunger Games and Delirium.
Divergent starts with a world that has been divided into factions according to personality type. This arose from a view that all the past troubles had been caused by specific negative characteristics rather than philosophies, religion or technology for example. The world is therefore divided into those that though selfishness caused problems and who vowed to be selfless (Abnegation), those who felt cowardice caused all problems and therefore vowed to be brave (Dauntless), those who felt ignorance caused problems and therefore were intelligent (Erudite), those who thought lies caused all problems and therefore vowed to be truthful (Candor) and finally those who felt aggression caused all problems and so vowed to be peaceful (Amity). The heroine, Tris, is born into Abnegation, but on her sixteenth birthday she transfers to Dauntless, leaving her family behind. From here, the novel deals with issues like coming of age, family ties, bullying, suicide, power and community. It also looks at the confidence needed to be yourself in a world that divides things into neat little boxes and does not understand that personalities are not just black and white. I won’t say any more so I don’t spoil anything, but it is a pacey, compelling read and yes, I did stay up way past my bed time to finish it!
I think Divergent is a perfect beach read, plot-driven, escapist but still packs a bit of a moral punch. Tuck it in your beach bag and enjoy before the film comes out (inevitably!)!