Tag Archives: Young-adult fiction

Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

9780062024046_p0_v1_s260x420Oh my, oh my, Veronica Roth, please write faster! Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, was just as riveting as I hoped, and waiting until October for all that I’m sure will be waiting in Allegiant is going to be torture. This book dives deeper into the fault lines of the characters, and, although I hate seeing the characters’ angst, it is always fascinating to stand outside a situation and see so clearly what the characters cannot see for themselves, just like the real world.

This post is harder than most to write without spoilers for both this book and the last! Oh, I want to tell you what happens so badly, but I promised I wouldn’t….so I won’t. This is not an easy feat though. I just want you to know.

I will tell you this is fairly typical of a middle book in a series, a little darker and not a lot of resolution going on. However, I like the story arcs for this series. Not only the over-arching story-line, but the story lines for the individual books as well. They’re well thought out, well put together and I have a sneaking suspicion that the devil will be in the details, as they say. Insurgent left me thinking deep thoughts also. I’m not going to be sharing, because…spoilers…I’m really afraid these deep dark thoughts will give away plot points, so….moving on.

These characters don’t feel flat to me. Everyone, even major-minor and minor characters feel three dimensional. As I said, I think the devil is in the details in this series, and I’m hoping that I have paid attention to all those little things that are going to be revealing as we move further into this world Ms. Roth has built. A bit of the resolution in this book felt a tad forced, but I have a feeling that these issues will pop their ugly little heads up in the next book, and may not be as resolved as they seem to be. In fact, I kind of hope they do, it would be in keeping with real people and relationships. Seriously, how many of you have decided something is resolved only to have another argument about it five weeks, seven months, or even a year later? It isn’t pretty, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gone through that at least once…or three times. Not only that, but these characters have been through a lot already, and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Have you ever just pushed down the stuff you’re just too busy to deal with right now? (Confession, yes, I have.)

9780062024060_p0_v4_s260x420Now, definitely recommending this one. (I already have to…well to everyone I know that reads…like at all.)  Have you read any good books lately? I’m feeling a craving coming on for some new fiction. Allegiant doesn’t come out until October 22, and it is only the end of June! That’s….that’s a lot of days.  Got any good recommendations?

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Young-Adult at heart! This week’s review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent

by Veronica Roth

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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.

di·ver·gent

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

divergence

noun

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>

Synonyms bifurcationdivaricationdivergencyseparation

Related Words differencedisagreementdiscrepancydisparateness,

disparitydissidencedissimilarity

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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…

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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?)

First Lines:

“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,

Jessica


Book Review: Finding no faults in….The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Recently, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I didn’t even read the jacket, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into.   Do you ever do that? Truthfully, the cover is so eye catching I probably would have picked it up anyway though.  Don’t you just love that vibrant blue?  This was another internet find, see.  Pinterest or Tumblr…(I can’t remember which now) introduced me to this author.  He and his brother Hank Green have a YouTube channel, VlogBrothers and someone made a meme about “the Venn diagram of boys who are stupid and boys you don’t want to date is a circle”.  Here is the link to the whole video.

I loved it, and I completely agree! Down the rabbit hole I went trying to find out more about this guy.  Not only do they have the VlogBrothers, there’s the Nerdfighters and all this other stuff too.  Here’s a video explaining How to Be A Nerdfighter: A VlogBrothers FAQ.

Somewhere along the way I became distracted. (You know the dog in the movie Up? Some days my friends say I’m a bit….Squirrel!) There was a comment I read about this amazing book The Fault in Our Stars. Whoa, this guy’s a writer? Then I got distracted by something shiny.

firefly

I put the book on my to-buy list.  That was not the last mention of The Fault in Our Stars I would come across.  Everyone has a list of books to pick up next time they’re out, right?  Like a grocery list, but to feed the mind.  After a girls night dinner, I got conned into going to the book store.  Okay, fine, she didn’t so much con me as mention she was going to the book store and I may have begged to go along….just a little bit.  She picked up a book to read on her vacation and I got The Fault in Our Stars.  This did not sit in my to-read pile for long.  It was like the bright blue cover was calling to me, so  I took it with me to start while I visited my best friend for her birthday.

I owe my best friend a HUGE apology.  It should probably involve wine and possibly cake to convince her to forgive me.  See, here is the problem.  It was her birthday. (The problem was not her birthday, we are NOT that old!  The problem was me.) The book came with me when I visited for her birthday.  There may have been an entire evening…fine it was the whole night,  that I was engrossed with this story.  This was NOT THE PLAN.  It was very nearly physically impossible to put down.  Every time I tried, I got pulled back in again. (Just one more chapter…) The day began just fine.  I started reading just before breakfast, and I did manage to put the book down to cook the birthday breakfast of pancakes. (I make some killer pancakes!)  We ran around town, did fun things, and got some sushi for dinner.  Then after dinner, I picked it up to read a chapter or two while we watched a movie I’d already seen…and I finished it at 12:30 am.  No conversation, nothing, just reading, maybe a few exclamations or bits of laughter.  Fine, my eyes may have gotten a bit misty once or twice, definitely nothing interactive…with my best friend…for her birthday.  (She definitely deserves wine and cake.)

These characters….I mean, wow, they’re great, so well written, and REAL.  I just loved Hazel to pieces! Don’t even get me started on Augustus or Isaac.  They broke my heart and mended it all at once.  Hazel is so…. It is like trying to describe your best friend or your sister.  Every time I think of her, I get a clear picture of her as a person, but feel I lack the ability to accurately describe her.  Even if I tried, I couldn’t do her justice.  I would surely leave out a vital piece of her.  You simply must meet Hazel.    These are teenagers that are funny, sarcastic and irreverent.  They have the same tone that I hear when my 15-year-old niece speaks (the one that makes me want to laugh and roll my eyes all at once), and they are intelligent, fiercely intelligent.  It is all tempered with this maturity and an awareness of others that is far beyond their years, which is completely understandable due to the circumstances. Their stories are told with truth, humor and grace.

Although this is classified as a young adult book, don’t let that deter you from picking it up (or putting it on your book shopping list…like literary groceries!).  It tackles some tough subjects, and it meets them head-on. These heavy-hitters are all handled honestly and with care. Don’t let the tough subjects steer you away from this book either!  I’m really glad that I didn’t know anything about the book before I bought it.  Honestly, I might have delayed reading it, if I’d known in advance.  That would have been something I regretted.  I wouldn’t hesitate to hand over this book to my niece. (Convincing her to read more than her Twitter feed is something else though.)  She’d enjoy it and come out the other side changed…for the better.  I know I did.  That is the mark of a really good book, after all.  The Fault in Our Stars is definitely an amazing book, and I plan on reading it again  . . . soon.  There are some nooks, crannies and layers yet to explore here. (I did read it in less than 24 hours after all.)

First Line:

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

‘Til next time!
Love,

Jessica