Divergent by Veronica Roth
Summary from Goodreads:
a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
A new friend and I recently discovered that we share the same love of books. And soon enough, we started recommending titles to each other. Since she found out that I loved The Hunger Games (and so did she), she gladly lent me Divergent, a dystopian novel.
I usually look for a believable imaginary world in dystopian novels. One that sucks you in and makes you think that this is real/could actually be real. With Divergent, I didn't quite get that feeling not because it is poorly written but perhaps it's because I found it hard to grasp a world based only on five values. I not am entirely convinced of how such a world will work when human beings tend to practice more than one or even all values at one point or another. You can never be completely Dauntless (Brave) or completely Abnegation (Selfless) and so on. So all the while, I had difficulty accepting this kind of world, but I tried to reign in my skeptical, judgmental self and soon enough I just went in and took the plunge.
Truth, Intelligence, Kindness, Selflessness, and Bravery. The five values that corresponds to these five factions: Candor, Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, and Dauntless. These five factions make up the future Chicago. Every citizen is born into a faction but once they reach 16, they have the freedom to choose and transfer to another faction. Now these five values seem like the perfect formula in running a community, but humans are humans, prone to the need to seize power. One of the five wanted to be on top of the rest, to be the ruling faction. Thus marks the beginning of disputes among themselves, of backstabbing, lies, threats, secrets, war, and death.
Tris also known as Beatrice Prior, the protagonist is pretty well written. She is not your cookie cutter heroine, the one with a golden heart. While she is brave, tough, and kind, she can be unforgiving and vengeful as well. She can also be vulnerable at times especially when it comes to family and friends and boys. Showing how much of a teenager she still is and how very much human. I like the inner struggle Roth created, about Beatrice deciding whether to fit in and just choose Abnegation, the faction she was born into and where her family resides, or be who she feels she is by joining Dauntless. The dilemma of doing what everyone expects you to as opposed to what you actually want. Such an issue is pretty much relevant and real. I like how it is explored and how it always hangs at the back of Tris' head no matter how hard she convinces herself that she doesn't care what anyone thinks.
I think what I didn't quite get in Divergent is that haunting and bleak feeling that prompts thought provoking questions about society and life and mankind and the future. I did not leave me dazed and spaced out in a corner because all the while I kept thinking about what I had just read. It is partly my fault though because I found it hard to accept humans cultivating only one value. But what kept me turning the pages until the end is that the story is action packed and exciting enough and written in a simple and straightforward way. An quick and easy read despite it's length.