Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), 2011

After her name is called, the girl walks onto the stage with all eyes on her. At the Choosing Ceremony, the audience remains quiet, waiting for her to make her choice. The girl gazes from one bowl to the next. There are 5 of them with different, symbolic matter in each bowl. They represent the 5 factions the society is divided into.

Stones huddle together. They stand for the selfless—the Abnegation.

Soil sits, settling at the bottom of the next bowl. It represents the peaceful—the Amity.

Glass reflects light. It symbolizes honesty—the Candor.

Water is contained in the fourth bowl. It stands for intelligence—the Erudite.

Fire burns fiercely in the last. It represents the brave—the Dauntless.

The tiny sixteen year old stands in front of the crowd with a blade in her hand, getting ready to slice her palm and let her blood drop into one of the bowls, confirming which faction she will live in for the rest of her life.

If she chooses the bowl with the stones, she remains in Abnegation and stays with her family, remaining in a life she feels she does not fit in. If she chooses one of the other bowls, she turns her back on her family, gaining a new way of life and a chance to reinvent herself.

This is Beatrice Prior’s dilemma. She must choose.

In Dystopian Chicago, the Choosing Ceremony is celebrated when the young people of a community turn sixteen. This is where they choose which faction they will remain in forever. It was decided long ago to divide people into five factions to make, not only the people better, but society as a whole better. They are in place to discourage selfishness, wrath, deceit, ignorance, and fear.

During the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice decides to change her life. She chooses a life with the Dauntless. Upon arriving at her new home, she becomes someone new. She becomes Tris. However her choice isn’t merely to avoid a place she felt like she didn’t belong, she chooses Dauntless due to finding out she is something more—something she has been warned is a dangerous thing to be. Tris is Divergent.

The blurb on the book: “One choice can transform you” raises the old debate of nature vs. nurture. Beatrice does not start out as a very strong female character. She grows up in a community where people must act meek, try to go unnoticed (since being noticed suggests vanity), and be selfless. Her family had nurtured her into this life. However, during the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice decides to transfer over to the Dauntless. Her transformation suggests that nature can influence a person. By changing her environment, Beatrice becomes Tris—a girl who still acknowledges her past but realises she can be a stronger person than the person she used to be.

Tris may have started out meek, but she evolves into something more, someone much stronger.

Not only does she get physically stronger, but she learns to face her fears and learns that there was a side of her that had been dormant and needed to be let out. Veronica Roth, the author of Divergent, did an awesome job making Tris’ growth through the novel both natural and believable.

Rating: 4/5

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