Book Review: Divergent (Roth)

Divergent © 2011, Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Subgenre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Social & Family Values

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In a world where people are divided into one of five “factions” based on their predominant trait, standing out is not just discouraged, it’s considered dangerous.

All sixteen year-olds are required to take a test that will help them understand their true nature, so they may complete their schooling and begin their adult lives where they belong. Beatrice (Tris) Pryor learns she has traits of more than one, making her Divergent. An anomaly. And a threat.

She belong nowhere but everywhere. When the fragility of their society is exposed, she must again chose, to blend in or stand out. To watch the disruption of their peaceful or fight back.


In Veronica Roth’s breakout debut novel, the story whisks the reader away into the world of Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Dauntless and Amity. And never looks back. It begins with a subtleness, with routine activities on a day that will change their lives forever. The hook is well-crafted and in the same vein as what Suzanne Collins does with The Hunger Games. Roth reveals details about daily life in this world that pique one’s curiosity and develops the story and characters in a manner that make putting the book down damn near impossible.

The story and its layered plot are orchestrated carefully, making the book an easy and enjoyable read for entertainment. It also creates an opportunity for deeper discussion on a number of issues relating to societal norms and expectations, behaviors and values. The characters all have compelling and thoughtfully developed storylines, with story being told exclusively from Tris’s point of view. Through the course of the story there is continued growth of the core individuals, although I found supporting characters, such as Four, overshadowed Tris for significant portions of the story. This stemmed from my general aggravation at the inconsistent nature of Tris’s teenage angst and indecisiveness. Some of her behavior was predictable and appropriate for her age, especially considering her upbringing. Other details seemed out of line with her experiences and development through the story and struck me as perhaps a reflection of Ms. Roth more than Tris.

Overall, this book a great read for a busy mom. The paperback version is four hundred eighty-seven pages, plus bonus materials, but I found myself flying through it (and I’m not a fast reader). As previously discussed, there are great opportunities for discussion with your teen about both issues they face in those years and society in general. It’s a fast-paced story in a fascinating world and follows well-developed, authentic characters. While they may be aggravating at times (much like our own kids), their stories will compel you to keep reading, a sure sign of a well-crafted book.


Have you read Divergent? Finished the trilogy? What was your reaction? How did you feel about Tris by the end of the book?


Thanks for stopping by! Happy trails and may the good books be plentiful. 🙂

Faction art: © Rhythm & Hues Design (2011)

Jacket art and design: Joel Tippie

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