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Divergent Paperback – February 28, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 21,313 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Divergent Series

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A Q&A with Author Veronica Roth

Q: What advice would you offer to young aspiring writers, who long to live a success story like your own?

Roth: One piece of advice I have is: Want something else more than success. Success is a lovely thing, but your desire to say something, your worth, and your identity shouldn’t rely on it, because it’s not guaranteed and it’s not permanent and it’s not sufficient. So work hard, fall in love with the writing—the characters, the story, the words, the themes—and make sure that you are who you are regardless of your life circumstances. That way, when the good things come, they don’t warp you, and when the bad things hit you, you don’t fall apart.

Q: You’re a young author--is it your current adult perspective or not-so-recent teenage perspective that brought about the factions in the development of this story? Do you think that teens or adults are more likely to fit into categories in our current society?

Roth: Other aspects of my identity have more to do with the factions than my age. The faction system reflects my beliefs about human nature—that we can make even something as well-intentioned as virtue into an idol, or an evil thing. And that virtue as an end unto itself is worthless to us. I did spend a large portion of my adolescence trying to be as “good” as possible so that I could prove my worth to the people around me, to myself, to God, to everyone. It’s only now that I’m a little older that I realize I am unable to be truly “good” and that it’s my reasons for striving after virtue that need adjustment more than my behavior. In a sense, Divergent is me writing through that realization—everyone in Beatrice’s society believes that virtue is the end, the answer. I think that’s a little twisted.

I think we all secretly love and hate categories—love to get a firm hold on our identities, but hate to be confined—and I never loved and hated them more than when I was a teenager. That said: Though we hear a lot about high school cliques, I believe that adults categorize each other just as often, just in subtler ways. It is a dangerous tendency of ours. And it begins in adolescence.

Q: If you could add one more faction to the world within Divergent, what would it be?

Roth: I tried to construct the factions so that they spanned a wide range of virtues. Abnegation, for example, includes five of the traditional “seven heavenly virtues:” chastity, temperance, charity, patience, and humility. That said, it would be interesting to have a faction centered on industriousness, in which diligence and hard work are valued most, and laziness is not allowed. They would be in constant motion, and would probably be happy to take over for the factionless. And hard-working people can certainly take their work too far, as all the factions do with their respective virtues. I’m not sure what they would wear, though. Overalls, probably.

Q: What do you think are the advantages, if any, to the society you’ve created in Divergent?

Roth: All the advantages I see only seem like advantages to me because I live in our current society. For example, the members of their society don’t focus on certain things: race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. I mean, a world in which you look different from the majority and no one minds? That sounds good to me. But when I think about it more, I realize that they’re doing the exact same thing we do, but with different criteria by which to distinguish ourselves from others. Instead of your skin color, it’s the color of your shirt that people assess, or the results of your aptitude test. Same problem, different system.

Q: What book are you currently reading and how has it changed you, if at all?

Roth: I recently finished Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, which I would call “contemporary with a paranormal twist,” or something to that effect. It’s about a girl whose sister has a powerful kind of magnetism within the confines of a particular town, and how their love for each other breaks some things apart and puts other things back together. It was refreshing to read a young adult book that is about sisterhood instead of romance. It’s one of those books that makes you love a character and then hate a character and then love them again—that shows you that people aren’t all good or all bad, but somewhere in between. Imaginary Girls gave me a lot to think about, and the writing was lovely, which I always love to see.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In the dystopian Chicago setting of Roth's novel (Katherine Tegen Bks., 2011), the population is divided into five factions. Upon declaring allegiance to one of them, 16-year-old Beatrice will decide her future. Beatrice and her brother, Caleb, grew up in helpful, unassuming Abnegation, always putting others first. During her aptitude testing, a simulation probes her suitability for Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Rather than getting a clear reading of her strengths, Beatrice's result is disturbing and dangerous: she is Divergent. At the choosing ceremony, the teenager impulsively joins Dauntless, the tattooed "hellions" whose value is bravery, and who protect the community. Beatrice, now called Tris, finds she feels brilliantly alive in Dauntless, even during the brutal training. She enjoys seeing her muscles harden, testing her courage, protecting the underdog, and working her way up the ranks of recruits. Making both friends and enemies, she moves through simulations tailored to trigger her Fear Landscape. Gradually, her Divergence shows itself, allowing Tris to see that the faction-dominated world isn't as wonderful as she has been told. The likeable characters, excellent pacing, and blooming romance will have listeners hooked. Emma Galvin's youthful voice has a twinge of huskiness that lends itself to voicing both young men and women. The audiobook will be very popular, so library patrons will have to be careful considering the packaging: a lightweight box and foldout sleeves. You might want to purchase the audio download instead.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Divergent (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062024035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062024039
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21,313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Veronica Roth was born in a Chicago suburb, and studied creative writing at Northwestern University. She and her husband currently live in the city that inspired the setting of the Divergent Trilogy.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#11 in Books > Teens
#11 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you liked Hunger Games but thought it needed more rules, you're going to love Divergent!

The debut novel from Veronica Roth, Divergent imagines a future after a great war. The only way to restore peace is to divide humanity up into 5 Death Frats named after SAT words. People join them by having only one personality trait: brave people join Dauntless where they jump off trains and punch each other. Smart people join Erudite where they wear glasses. Amish people join Abnegation where they don't eat hamburgers. And the other two are both Hufflepuff.

In the EXTREMELY RARE situation where somebody has two personality traits ("I have glasses AND don't eat hamburgers!" -or- "I play baseball AND football") they are "divergent" (a Latin word meaning "too cool for school").

"But wait," you say. "How do they figure out which frat to join?" I'm glad you asked. Pledge week in Dystopian Chicago consists of a hallucination where you have to choose between a knife and cheese with no other instructions. Then a dog attacks you. If you choose the knife, you are Dauntless. If you choose the cheese, you're not. Isn't that cool? That's all it takes. You either want a knife or you want cheese, and that decision confines you to a single Death Frat for the rest of your life. That's their NEARLY FOOLPROOF system. Knife or cheese. Maybe I'm not Divergent, I'm just lactose intolerant!

Eventually the smart people use the brave people to kill the Amish people and only a teenage girl with two different interests can save them all. With her boyfriend. And something about a hard drive that controls humanity (presumably connecting via USB 27.0).

Anyway, it doesn't make much sense but expect a million more books about dystopian futures where kids kill each other, because Hunger Games sold faster than a grey tunic in an Abnegation camp.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously, I feel like I'm in the twilight zone or something. I was really excited to read this because everyone is talking about how great it is. Spoiler alert: it sucks.

Every character was either one dimensional or died prematurely and for no reason. I get it, sometimes you need to kill a character. Sometimes it suits the story. This didn't.

(Spoilers) Part of the problem is the inconsistent writing. Such as, "there's no way I am capable of killing anyone, so I can't pull the trigger on Tobias. Oh wait, I just killed Will. Two minutes ago I was capable of the murder of a close friend with almost no reaction. Nor reaction to the violent deaths of my loving parents.

Another problem is the dauntless faction seems to be totally sociopathic with brutal initiation rituals and little to no empathy. And like, what are we doing here anyway for over 300 pages??? Making friends that we will later murder? Fight to the top of the class in a faction that won't exist by the end of the book?

Needless to say I won't be reading the next two books. I find it hard to be invested in characters when I can see the author has no control over them whatsoever. I've already embraced the two remaining characters' imminent deaths and everyone else I was invested in is already dead so there's really no point.

The plot of this book did have potential, and at times I was riveted. But the dialogue between the main characters (love interests) was straight from a book of cliches, the writing was at best inconsistent and at worst, confusing and unclear, and the result is an author, characters and story that I can not trust or feel comfortable investing more time in.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Divergent was definitely a new riveting tale that had me rapidly flipping the pages in a reading frenzy! It starts off with the reader getting to know the lifestyle of Beatrice, a sixteen year old girl, in a dystopian or controlled world, where there are five factions of people: Abnegation who put others before their own needs and where Beatrice is currently from, the Dauntless who are brave and fearless, the Erudite who are studious, the Amity who are peaceful, and the Candor who are honest. Before Choosing Day, where each sixteen year old will decide which faction they wish to devote their life to, is a simulated aptitude test that will tell Beatrice which faction she would fit in most with...but for her life will never be simple. Instead of having just one of these traits as is normal, Beatrice possesses at least three, which makes her a dangerous person for reasons she doesn't understand, and answers are not forthcoming as she has to keep this information to herself or risk being killed.

From there Beatrice has to make her own mark in the world, and ultimately makes a decision that will change the rest of her life. No more does she portray the meek, silent girl with no spirit, but instead forces herself to rise up to the challenges she faces in both the initiation and in her life. For if she lets her guard down, she faces becoming factionless, without friends or family, but what she doesn't expect to find along her new path is what she yearned for all along. To understand who she really is.

Divergent is one novel that had me jumping out of my seat, biting my nails to the quick as I was drawn into Beatrice's world, cheering her on one minute, and wanting to cry with her the next.
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