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Divergent Paperback – February 28, 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Amazon Book Blurb:
One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.
Review: Published in 2011, Divergent is Veronica Roth's first novel. The first of a series by the same name, Divergent reflects the voracious appetite readers at the time had for post-apocalyptic literature.
The story is entirely from the viewpoint of sixteen year-old Tris who's forced to undertake a social sorting test that separates them into separate and distinct factions—not unlike the houses of Hogwarts—that dictate their members' roles in society. These factions come complete with initiations and manifestos that emphasize their respective ideal virtues. It's discovered during Tris's sorting test that she doesn't fit neatly into any one group. In other word's, she's special.
I'd heard of this book when I came across it on Amazon but I was immediately snared by the potential the world setting offered. An entire society formally divided into factions by their values? I could just imagine the possibilities. Unfortunately, I found that potential to be largely wasted.
I was quickly bothered by the facile nature of the world Veronica had built. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin, but I expect my fictional worlds to survive the most cursory of internal logic tests. In this, Divergent fails.
The characters tended to be fairly shallow and predictable in the extreme. Their goals rarely extended further than than the scene that contained them. I found the dialogue to be similarly shallow and unrealistic.
The plot twists were predictable. The writing was often as subtle as a Leslie Nielson movie. Maybe I'm giving the young adult genre too much credit but the characters and plot were about as surprising as a form-fittingly wrapped Christmas present.
I'm genuinely surprised at the praise this book has received. There wasn't anything exemplary about the book except for the setting's concept which turned out to be poorly developed despite its potential. I'm fairly certain that the reason Divergent obtained such an impressive level of success can be narrowed down to its impeccable timing. Publishers and readers alike were hungry for another Katniss Everdeen story. Another story about a young women who had more handsome romantic prospects than she knew what to do with.
Now, don't get me wrong. I try to support new authors. I wish Veronica the best in her writing endeavors. It could very well be that I'm not a fan of the simplistic style she uses, a style exemplified in her website's biography:
"I’m Veronica. I write books for young adults. Specifically, I wrote the books Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection.
I like things. Some of those things are (in no particular order): Harry Potter, rain, YA, books, puns, cute animals, tea, sitcoms, grammar, writing, Chicago, Doc Martens, trains, flat stretches of prairie land, cold weather months, and so on. "
It's very possible I'm missing something that her fans are picking up on. After all, her books are adored by millions. They can't all be wrong.
one huge awesome read. I can't tell you how much I love this series!
Once again I was thrown into the world of Divergent, beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The story immediately picked up where the first book left off--Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Marcus--in the train heading to the Amity compound. I'm glad that this time, Insurgent gave me a glimpse of what it is to live inside Amity, the faction dedicated to pursue peace. In the same way that the readers were given the opportunity to see how to live in Candor.
There are so many things to love about Insurgent, and I won't be able to finish if I state them all. But what I loved the most is Four (*swoon). I love it because I get to know him more in this book. Though there are lots of readers who seemed to be so irritated by him, I think he remains strong and amazing. And though Tris annoyed me from time to time because of her recklessness, I'd say that she's the most effective heroine I've ever met. She's strong-willed and smart and absolutely kick-ass. She suffered a lot--the death of her parents, the destruction of Abnegation, and the guilt of killing his friend Will--but she remains strong all through out the story. I just hope that Tris learned to trust Four, and not be stupid to think that Four will just let her go and do whatever it is that she wanted even if she risk her life. I want to pin-point one thing that Tris must have been missing the whole time: Four will always come to the rescue no matter what. He ends up saving her all the time. And Four should have trusted Tris more. I see that both main characters have their own issues to deal with like trusting each other and learning how to communicate with each other better. I hope they will learn to work this out in the next book to spare the readers some heartache that may result from stabbing one another out of arguments whether who is most infuriating of the two! Believe me, I felt stabbed a million times now! *winks*lol*
The setting of the story is as great as ever. The pacing is perfect! No dull moment, no boring ones. Most of the times I was expecting something to happen and then my heart throbs, my stomach flutters. But what's great is that they come when I'm least expecting them--always surprising, shocking even. Action-packed, full of suspense and lots of exciting moments. This book will leave you breathless. The characters are amazing as ever. Friends and enemies aren't what they seem. You'll hate some of those you loved, and love some of those you hated. The turn of events will question what you believe, who to trust, and where to stand. The twists and the revelations will amaze you once again, something that Veronica Roth didn't fail to give her readers.
I don't think my rating can ever give justice to it. I would give it a "10" if I could. I will definitely give this book the highest possible rating I can give. This book is what you call "the total page-turner." It did not disappoint, it will never disappoint. Undeniably and irrevocably, this book will take it's place beside Divergent -- there on top of the list of my most favorite books.
To Miss Veronica Roth,
Once again, consider me awed.
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