In which a 16 year old girl makes a decision to determine her future, and deals with her choice.
Emily already wrote a good summary of Divergent, so I won't go into the plot much here. Divergent is about a girl in a dystopian Chicago confronted with life defining choices, love, conspiracies and adventure. Divergent is one of the best young adult books I've read because of the exciting story and compelling heroine. I highly recommend it!
Young adult books about girls seem morel likely than normal to have boring, irritating "Mary Sue" type protagonists. Such was not the case here. The point of view character, Tris, was awesome but flawed and really compelling. She was really well developed. Her characterization was a major strength of the book. I loved her unique combination of strength and vulnerability.
Another surprisingly strong element in Divergent was the romance. It was a really, really well done romance. It's hard for me to not get irritated by romance focused on kids. I was even annoyed by that element in the Hunger Games trilogy, which I loved. But Roth does it right in Divergent. It's just the right amounts of uncertainty, awkward timing, and passion. It really worked for me.
The setting was also pretty engaging, if less well developed than the protagonist. Dystopian Chicago is divided into factions by broad personality type, with jobs and families being segregated. It's interesting, but a lot is not explained in Divergent. Hopefully its sequels will describe what's outside of the city, what goes on with factions not emphasized in Divergent and other setting elements that were lacking. Two of the factions, Candor and Amity, were barely mentioned in Divergent.
I feel like the setting in Divergent, with militaristic Dauntless, puritanical Abnegation, and self-superior Erudite were maybe less than subtle comments about classes in America. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. I don't have the finest-tuned metaphor radar.
I need to stop reading books whose sequels are still being written. Evidently, Divergent is part of an expected trilogy, the second volume of which is scheduled for this May. It drives me nuts to wait for sequels! Other than the fact that this series is incomplete, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. If you like young adult adventure stories, this is a really strong one.