Sunday, February 19, 2012


Roth, Veronica. 2011. DIVERGENT. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062024022 [Suggested Grade Levels 8–x12]

Choices. We all have them, we all make them, yet in this dystopian novel there is one choice that must be made that determines future beliefs, loyalties and friendships. In a society with five factions, each person is tested to enter one of them yet once in a while, someone tests as a divergent, having the characteristics to function in more than one faction. Beatrice tests as a divergent and forsakes her family’s faction of Abnegation (the selfless) to join the Dauntless (the brave). She frees herself of past constraints, embraces the dangerous lifestyle, and finds her divergence to be the strength needed to help overcome a takeover by the Erudite (the intelligent).

Roth creates a realistically functional world by focusing on well-developed characters, a strong story line, and individual growth towards fulfillment. The dystopian nature of the world does not take precedent, rather it is the foundation for events that are the forefront of the story. The emotional, maturation of Beatrice into a self-sufficient, functional individual is handled masterfully and with enough excitement to gather in the most reluctant reader.

The factions (the honest, the selfless, the brave, the peaceful, and the intelligent) encompass the qualities of a well-balanced society, but within this story, each quality is a separate faction that leads towards prejudice and war. Discussions could be held on the importance of each faction and the role they play in any government and culture. Which is the most important and why? Could a culture exist without a particular faction? If so, which one?

Other books with a dystopian background focusing on social changes:
Aguirre, Ann. ENCLAVE. ISBN 9780312650087
Lu, Marie. LEGEND. ISBN 9780399256752

By Christine J. Rayl

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