In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, February 13, 2012

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

copyright date: May 2011
primarily marketed for: teens (14 and up)

I kept hearing hype about this book,  “If you liked The Hunger Games, you will like Divergent.  I was skeptical.  No book can come close to the power of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, which I think is the perfect mix of every genre AND is well crafted. 

So, I did not have my hopes up with Divergent.  Okay, maybe I was a little hopeful. 

I was resistant at the beginning.  The voice in my head said, “This is a rip off.  This is just like when everyone started reading other vampire books because they liked Twilight.  As if the best thing about Twilight were the vampires.  Puh-lease.  This is just another post-apocalyptic novel some publisher knew would sell.”

The voice in my head can be rather harsh sometimes.

By the middle of the book the voice in my head was too focused on the characters and plot of Divergent to question anything else.  This book is filled with romance, hard-core violence (for real, this is not for squeamish readers), and suspense.

It takes place in Chicago (what’s not to like about that), so you will be able to picture places like Millennium Park and Navy Pier as you read.  That adds an extra layer of cool. 

In this post-apocalyptic world, people have divided themselves into five factions, based on what they think caused the destruction of life as we knew it: Abnegation (selfless to counteract greed), Amity (peaceful to counteract fighting), Candor (honest to counteract deceit), Dauntless (brave to counteract fear), and Erudite (intelligent to counteract ignorance).

At the age of 16, each person is allowed to choose to remain in the faction in which they have been raised, or switch to another faction.  A “test” the night before the choosing ceremony is meant to help each person decide which faction they might be best suited to join. 

Beatrice ends up making a last minute decision that will change her life and the lives of her family members forever after her test reveals she is not aligned with a single faction, but is instead “Divergent.”  Her tendency towards multiple factions is a secret she is urged to keep, although she is not sure what the danger of sharing might be. 

As the book unfolds, the unrest amongst the factions increases and Beatrice does not only end up fighting for her rank as an adult within this faction system, she ends up fighting for her life. 

The second book in this trilogy comes out in May and my copy is already in my Amazon cart. 


  1. I believe you Christy, & really count on your opinion, but this sounds so much like a copy of The Hunger Games. I'll keep it on my list & hopefully I can check it out from the library. Thanks for talking so truthfully about the book.

  2. I just got this! Haven't been able to read it yet because a student checked it out right away. Now I can't wait to get it back!

  3. I saw it in your stack! I just read The Future of Us by Asher and Mackler (also in your stack), but I imagine that was already snagged by a student too...

    I haven't read Shine, but I am guessing you suggest it? Maybe I can talk you into a guest review for this blog?

  4. Love, love, LOVE this book. Already have INSURGENT pre-ordered on my Nook!

    I need to buy you a copy of SHATTER ME.