In DIVERGENT, by Veronica Roth (coming May 3, 2011 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, for ages 14 and up), sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to confront her ultimate nightmares in a series of simulations. Will they break her or make her stronger?
DIVERGENT is -- are you ready for this?-- better than THE HUNGER GAMES (*shields face from flaming arrows hurled by bloggers*).
Yes. It's true.
Don't get me wrong. I love them both. And there are obvious similarities here. A strong female protagonist. First person present tense narration. A futuristic dystopian world, with a corrupt government. Lots of violence, but never gratuitous. And both novels are positively addictive reads.
But DIVERGENT is richer, deeper, and more complex. I'm in awe of Veronica Roth's abilities as a writer. The unusual first line drew me in, and I was hooked. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue is realistic, the character growth is amazing. Tris blossoms into a real person long before you finish the book. You'll be so caught up in this amazing novel, you'll become Tris. There are myriad secondary characters, yet I never got them confused. The training process for the faction Tris chooses is long and arduous and yet utterly fascinating because it's both physical and psychological. Fear takes a front seat in this novel.
And I have to admit the love story is more satisfying. I've said before that I never thought the romance was an important part of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Here it's so tightly entwined with the action, the intrigue, the fear and the fighting, you only realize long into the book that you're completely invested in the romance too.
The stunning world Veronica Roth has created is one in which personality traits determine one's future. Beatrice (Tris) lives in a future version of Chicago, where Lake Michigan is nothing but a marsh, and the people live in separate factions. The five factions were created decades before the story opens, when people realized it wasn't race or religious belief or nationalism that caused war, but faults in human personality and humankind's natural tendency toward evil. Will the factions continue to live together in harmony or will war break out?
Now that Tris is sixteen she has to choose her faction at the Choosing ceremony. She's been raised by Abnegation parents, but she's not obligated to choose Abnegation. The simulation test all sixteen-year-olds take before the ceremony is supposed to show them which faction would suit them best. For Tris, the results are surprising. Will she choose Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity, or Dauntless? And what deadly secret is she hiding?
Once you choose your faction, you live with them from then on, even if it's not the faction in which you were raised (you'd leave your own family behind). If you can't choose or you're kicked out of your faction, you become factionless, similar to the homeless people in our cities today.
You learn all of this in the first two chapters of the book and there are thirty-seven more chapters (note that I read the ARC). To say any more would reveal too much and I would never want to do that. This book is too important to spoil. Read it for yourself.
In fact, I love this book so much I'm willing to give away my ARC.
This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, simply be a follower AND leave a comment. But let's make it more fun. You're writers, so give me something creative in your comment by answering the following question:
Which faction would you choose? Abnegation is all about selflessness (giving up your seat on the bus), Amity is all about friendliness and kindness (they make good caregivers), Erudite is for people who love to study or teach (they also become librarians), Candor is for the unfailingly honest (they always say what they think), and Dauntless is for the brave (the kind of people who like bungee-jumping off buildings). If you can't decide, then you can always choose factionless. But where's the fun in that?
I'll choose the most interesting answer. (Hey, my blog, my rules!) Be creative! Knock my socks off!
UPDATE (Mon March 28): Due to the generosity of my awesome sales rep, Jenny Sheridan, I'm able to offer TWO copies of the ARC of DIVERGENT. So here's what I'm gonna do:
1) One copy goes to the most original and creative answer to the question (see above).
2) The second copy goes to a random winner.
This giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EDT on Sunday April 3. I'll announce the two winners no later than Wednesday, April 6. Good luck!
UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED! Sorry to anyone who tried to comment after midnight last night! I've now turned off comments.