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In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I had heard good things about this series long before I ever picked it up to read, though sometimes I only take the things I hear about books with a grain of salt. At the time I first heard of the series, I was in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, and I could barely make it through the required readings for my classes without falling behind, much less actually picking up books for my own entertainment. So for a while, this series was set back on my 'To Read' list, and settled on the back burner without a second thought for a long while.
Recently, I found myself browsing the shelves of one of the major bookstores when I spotted this title again. Knowing I'd been meaning to read it to see whether or not the fuss about it was well deserved, I picked it up and spent the next half-hour standing in the aisle reading the first couple of chapters. It's a rare feeling of pleasure when a book can grab me as firmly in attention as Divergent did. While yes, it's part of the rapidly growing genre of dystopian novels, Roth provides a well researched and believable world. Her use of obscure words for the factions is an interesting detail, as well as providing a glimpse into the life of one of the fractions, with small frame shots inside other factions.
The long and short of it is, Divergent definitely has lived up to the hype that has surrounded the series, and I have found myself eager to get my hands onto the second book as well the third. This is definitely a book one should consider reading.