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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
- Pub. Date: May 2011
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
This book struck me so hard that I've been letting my brain percolate about what to even write to review it. How do you comment on a work of perfection?? I guess I will try, but I don't know that I'm really going to do the amazingness any justice whatsoever, especially without spoiling some of the best parts.
First of all, this is a dystopian par excelence! The world that is set up seems, on the outside, not to be too bad for the person living in this society - at least initially. At first, I was thinking it was like the Harry Potter sorting ceremony only with all of society taking part. How cool would that be, right? Even though 16-year-olds have to sometimes choose against being themselves to be in a faction with their family, there's not too much wrong with it. That's just the initial impression, though. As Beatrice discovers her own status - a Divergent who doesn't naturally fit into just one faction - is when I really started to sense a problem.
The adventure of Beatrice choosing Dauntless, renaming herself Tris, and attempting to earn her spot is just a completely wild ride. There was not one second that I ever wanted to stop reading, trying to find out how things would fare for her or about what was going to happen due to a devious plot being hatched among some of the factions. The adventure in this book kept me riveted like it was a tornado about to hit my house - I was fascinated by its beauty and complexity but terrified that the end result would not be something great for Tris (and by extension, me!).
And then there is, of course, Four, who Tris can't help but be attracted to. He is her trainer, strong and brave and ... mysterious. I was almost literally dying as Tris began to discover his identity and to learn more about his painful past, both of which are carefully hidden beneath his hard exterior. I am sooo picky about choosing my ultimate favorite literary boyfriends, so I don't lightly say that Four, over the course of this series, could actually take out my main literary man! His blend of compassion and angst and internal strength all combobulating under his tough exterior is .. um .. hott!
And, mixed in with this carefully crafted world and breathless romance, is perfect character development. I can't even pinpoint exactly what technique is employed that gives such a sense of who each person is, but I can assure you - it is there...!!!
This is a book that you need to get your hands on. Borrow, beg, steal. Whatever. DO IT NOW!
Source: Book It Forward ARC Tours