Friday Reads: Reread Edition: "Divergent" and "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

The third DIVERGENT book, ALLEGIANT, comes out on Tuesday! So I am currently rereading the first two in the trilogy, DIVERGENT and INSURGENT. I finished DIVERGENT last night before bed, and will be diving into INSURGENT today as soon as I get enough work done to relax with a book for a while. I can't wait. Who else is excited for ALLEGIANT's release??

Divergent Insurgent

If you're someone who hasn't read any of these books, here's the nutshell version. Society has been divided into five Factions, each prioritizing a different quality: Dauntless (courage), Candor (honesty), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peace/kindness), and Abnegation (selflessness). When DIVERGENT begins, 16-year-old Beatrice, raised in Abnegation but never quite feeling like she fits, is about to make the choice that will define the rest of her life. All 16 year olds are tested to determine their primary aptitude, and then must choose either to stay in the Faction in which they were raised, or to transfer to another. In the testing process, Beatrice learns that she's Divergent—she doesn't fit easily into a single Faction's box. And during the choosing ceremony, she gathers up every bit of courage she has and transfers to Dauntless, where she renames herself Tris and launches into a brutal initiation process.

But it isn't just about Tris's personal journey to discover what it means to be Divergent and to make it through Dauntless initiation in one piece. There are rumblings throughout the book that this seemingly perfect society is on the verge of collapse. Erudite has been publishing articles accusing Abnegation government leaders of corruption. There's tension between the groups on all levels, from government to families to between the initiates themselves. The Factions have strayed from their initial noble goals, and the cracks are starting to show. Being Divergent, Tris is about to find herself smack in the middle of all of it.

Oh, and there's a boy, Tobias (also called Four), Tris's initiation leader who pushes her and protects her and has secrets and vulnerabilities of his own...

devoured these books when I first read them. They are true page-turners, even the second time around. And I love this version of a crumbling utopian society, where it gradually becomes clear that courage, selflessness, honesty, kindness, and knowledge shouldn't be at war at all—and yet you can totally see how a society like this could develop. As in Lauren Oliver's DELIRIUM trilogy (where society tries to create a more harmonious world by eradicating the "disease" of love) and Ally Condie's MATCHED trilogy (where society takes away free will in everything from careers to relationships in order to promote peace and maintain order), DIVERGENT's society clearly started out with good, if flawed, intentions. Unfortunately, human beings are messy and complicated. And that's what makes a compelling story.

On Tuesday, I'll be picking up my copy of ALLEGIANT—and probably devouring it, too. I'm hoping for an ending that I'll be happy with, that makes sense and is emotionally satisfying while also tying up all the loose ends. I know with trilogies like these, the ending can be controversial. (For instance, I liked how the third DELIRIUM book, REQUIEM, ended, but I know many readers did not! Meanwhile, I didn't completely love REACHED, the third MATCHED book...) Regardless, I know I'm in for a ride.

Who's with me?