The beginning of the novel, for me, was reminiscent of The Giver by Lois Lowry. In both books the main character has come of age (12 in The Giver and 16 in Divergent) and is either chosen for or veered toward a vocation, if you will, but that’s where the comparison ends. Sixteen year old Beatrice Prior must choose a faction that will identify her for the rest of her life. Her choices are great vocab words: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity and Candor.
Beatrice was born into Abnegation, but has always felt she does not belong because she is not naturally selfless so at 16 she chooses Dauntless where she is known as Tris. Coming from a faction that seems to reject everything from eating hamburgers to hugging, Tris is extremely naïve and her character grows the most as she discovers friendships, enemies, bullying and falling in love with one of the Dauntless trainers named Four. The romance aspect is not aggressive and sappy.What’s more—there’s no love triangle! There is graphic hand-to-hand, Fight Club like violence so the book merits an Older Teen sticker in our library system. The only complain I would have is the ending feels rushed; while Roth spends time on the initiation phase into Dauntless, the ending feels rushed. A lot seems to happen very quickly, but despite that Tris discovers while each faction attaches itself to one human characteristic, being human is complex so she recognizes: “I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless. I am Divergent. And I can’t be controlled.” This, of course, sets the stage for the next book in the trilogy, Insurgent, due May 1, 2012.