(As you might be able to tell, I am behind this week! Sorry.)
**IF YOU ARE NOT READING THESE BOOKS/HAVE NOT READ THEM, please be aware that there will be spoilers in these posts.**
Here's a quick Goodreads summary of Divergent by Veronica Roth:
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.
Veronica Roth is the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Divergent," the first in a trilogy of dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Quick summary of Chapters 1-5:
- Beatrice gets her hair cut by her mother, rides to school on a bus with her brother, and watches the Dauntless arrive from the train with clear longing.
- Beatrice observes the other factions after lunch while waiting for her turn at the test. Her brother, Caleb, comes out looking pale. We meet Tori, one of the Dauntless, who gives Beatrice her test simulation.
- Beatrice's results are inconclusive (she could be Erudite, Abnegation, and Dauntless), which means that she is one of the Divergent. Tori tells her to never tell another soul, because being Divergent is dangerous.
- Beatrice leaves school early after such an upsetting result, and we meet one of the factionless. We see what it means to not be a part of the system in this world - to be hungry and poor and sometimes homeless (and this old man is quite creepy).
- Beatrice lies a lot to her family / does not tell them of her results. Her father rants about the Erudite / Abnegation tensions, and how Marcus, one of the Abnegation leaders, is being accused of mistreating his son, Tobias. Caleb and Beatrice have another important talk, not sharing their secrets but Caleb essentially encouraging Beatrice to not be selfless; to make the choice for herself.
- The Choosing Ceremony. We find out the history of each faction, and what they value most. Caleb chooses Erudite. Beatrice slices her hand over the Dauntless coals. "[She is] selfish. [She is] brave" (47).
- I've already read Divergent, but I love how I'm picking up on so many more details than I did the first time I read the novel. I.e. all the details about the factions! Like Abnegation repaving the roads, Beatrice's family not having a car... Things about her personality - she is proud to run to get the nurse, she gets bullied for what she is, she is clumsy and trips on her slacks. It's amazing thinking about her in the beginning of Divergent, then realizing what she's like at the end.
- Really fascinating, the test simulation and how Veronica Roth chose to interpret each action - reminds me a lot of Dumbledore - "your choices make who you are" or whatever the quote is.
- I'm half wondering if I'm not doing justice to those summaries because half the excitement in Veronica Roth's writing is all the details! And I can't put everything in :(.
- Also... it's amazing how quiet the book started off. A quiet, reflecting scene with the mirror and haircut and Beatrice's longing for the Dauntless VS. the end.
- This book is so subtle with its foreshadowing. Caleb. His characterization. Her family. There are so many details to take in, and I'm thinking of the series as a whole, and admiring Veronica Roth's planning--what an excellent job she's done, planting these clues.
- Also, it's so easy to sympathize with Beatrice, I think, in those quiet moments with her family. How many of us have felt like we're not enough? In more ways than one.
What do you think? Tell me your thoughts on the book so far :).