by Veronica Roth
Apparently, I’m on a young adult book kick. Really, it just seems like a lot of really great books are coming out of the YA section lately. First, The Fault in Our Stars and now Divergent by Veronica Roth. Although, C. S. Lewis once said:
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
I have found that to be incredibly true, haven’t you? Of course, this is coming from the man who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, and I never get tired of reading those. Those books are like The Hobbit, an old friend you just have to visit every now and again. I went and grabbed a book off the shelf with nothing more than a recommendation off the internet…again. (It’s worked pretty well so far. Confession, I’ll probably do it again.) This title, Divergent, just kept showing up. It was in posts on Tumblr, on Pinterest, and Twitter and it stuck in my head. The word “divergent” is such a great word anyway, and I am such a vocabulary geek. (Did you know there is a book called The Synonym Finder? Oh yeah, baby, it is awesome. It even includes slang. No, I don’t read the dictionary for fun…maybe, I’ve read The Synonym Finder.) However the info below actually comes from Merriam-Webster.
1 a : diverging from each other <divergent paths>
b : differing from each other or from a standard <the divergent interests of capital and labor>
2: relating to or being an infinite sequence that does not have a limit or an infinite series whose partial sums do not have a limit
3: causing divergence of rays <a divergent lens>
— di·ver·gent·ly adverb
Origin of DIVERGENT
Latin divergent-, divergens, present participle of divergere
First Known Use: 1696
1. a movement in different directions away from a common point <a growing divergence of opinion about that U.S. president’s place in history>
This week I flew to San Diego for a business trip and read this on the plane on the way there…let me repeat that. I read Divergent on the plane ride from Tulsa to San Diego. There weren’t even any measurable layovers. Well, the plane stopped in Las Vegas, but I didn’t even get off the plane. (I did move to a better seat though.) Not only did I finish this book in an afternoon, but I went searching for the sequel, Insurgent…right away, as in immediately. However, it wasn’t in the bookstores in the airport. (Bummer!) Now, while I couldn’t find it in the airport, I know where to pick it up tonight, as in like two hours! (Not that I’m counting down or anything…no really! There are some cravings that just have to be fed!)
This series is set in what used to be Chicago. Everyone is divided into one of five factions, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, and Amity. You choose your faction at sixteen after an aptitude test. If you choose a faction outside of your family’s faction, you may never see them again. Your loyalty to your faction comes before family. This Choice is the biggest decision of your life.
My family might be able to help me make my choice, if I could talk about my aptitude test results. But I can’t. Tori’s warning whispers in my memory every time my resolve to keep my mouth shut falters.
Caleb and I climb the stairs and, at the top, when we divide to go to our separate bedrooms, he stops me with a hand on my shoulder.
“Beatrice,” he says, looking sternly into my eyes. “We should think of our family.” There is an edge to his voice. “But. But we must also th
ink of ourselves.”
For a moment I stare at him. I have never seen him think of himself, never heard him insist on anything but selflessness.
I am so startled by his comment that I just say what I am supposed to say: “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”
He smiles a little. “Don’t they though?”
Once you choose your faction, the fun is just beginning. (Can you hear the sarcasm there? When will we get a sarcasm font? It should come in Italics, Bold, and Sarcasm. It would make my life SO much easier! ) After you’ve chosen, you go through initiation. Not everyone in every faction is initiated, and if you aren’t….you become factionless. That means no home, no real source of income, and still no contact with your family. In this world, faction equals home and community, and the emphasis is certainly that you cannot survive or at least cannot live well without a faction.
In this book I kept thinking of something that I heard the actor who plays John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the new film Star Trek: Into Darkness say about his character.(if you haven’t seen this yet, finish reading this post and GO SEE THE MOVIE! It is fantastic! At the very least, check out the trailer!) I’m going to get the actual words wrong, I’m sure, and I’m sorry for it because it was very well said. Hopefully, I get his intent right, however. Every terrorist is someone else’s freedom fighter, and that concept kept circling through my mind along with a question. When do the ends no longer justify the means? Isn’t that just a cheery whirlwind of thought.Can you imagine having to choose your future at sixteen? Doesn’t it feel that way when we choose a college or career path? This is so much more permanent, because we all have the option to change our minds about the university we attend . . . or not… the career path we take…or don’t, our future is not set in stone. Our future is what we make of it…it’s a liberating and terrifying concept, to realize that you’re responsible for what happens next. Isn’t it? Not the circumstances, but the path you take…
I know, I know. These are deep thoughts this week! On bit of a lighter note, they are turning Divergent into a movie. As I was checking out Veronica Roth’s website, I found stills from the movie. There’s information about casting info on there too, not to mention BOOKS! There is a third book too, Allegiant, that will be released October 22, 2013. (Why is October so far away? To pre-order or not to pre-order, that is the question of the day. Because I totally need to add something else to my reading list, right?)
“There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”
Next up…trip to Washington DC, and, trust me, I’ll have a couple of good books to keep me company on the plane.
Til next time,