Friday, March 25, 2011

Fantastic YA Friday and a GIVEAWAY!

What would you do if you had to face your worst fears?    

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. 


  1. I'm suffering from a cold that's sapping my creativity, but man this book looks good. I'm adding it to my list of must reads. :D

  2. I think I would choose Erudite because I love learning and discussing and taking apart ideas and such!! Thanks for the giveaway! I am a follower.

    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

  3. I would most definitely be an Erudite. I have a deep love of books and feel compelled to impart knowledge on the masses whether they want to hear it not.
    Though to be honest, I'd be just as happy holed up in a room of books, cataloguing, studying, learning, hoarding...
    Wait, did I say hoarding? Nah, scrath that. I don't hoard books. I DON'T I swear! *tiptoes away to hide behind a stack of books*

  4. Thanks for your comments, everyone!

    Stina, so sorry to hear you're sick. Too bad this book doesn't come out until May. This would have been the perfect read to hole up with. In fact, I was nursing a sore throat and cuddled up with this ARC and a few cups of tea.

    Hi Jesse! Thanks for your comment. I lean toward that faction, myself. When you read the book, you may change your mind!

    Paige, your comment made me laugh!

    Hi Caroline! Good to hear from you.

  5. I'd probably be an Erudite, but I'd want to hang out with the others. So, if the different factions are enemies, like say the houses in HP, that might push my answer in another direction.

    This is the best review I've read for this book. I have it marked "to read" on Goodreads, but I didn't know much about it. Thanks!

  6. So. I had this big, long, convoluted, soul-bearing comment for you, all about how each faction kinda fit me but mostly didn't, so I ended up arguing myself right into factionless. It was awesome. It was really, really cool. I mean, I spent probably 20 minutes on this thing. And I was so proud of it. Really. And then I hit "Publish Your Comment." And I got an error message: "Were sorry, but we were unable to process your request." WHAT?? Seriously? And this comment pop-up has no back-up button, and I didn't copy and paste my typing into a text document before I hit "Publish Your Comment" (which I usually do "just in case," only I didn't today, and I totally should have. Totally). So now, I'm left with only my word. And my word is: factionless. But I wish you coulda read my reasons. Because they were fabulous. They really really were. *sigh*

    ***SO, I tried again, and got the error message AGAIN. But ha! I copied to a text doc. But I still mourn the loss of my first attempt. It was really cool.

  7. In haiku form:

    Erudite I'd be
    love of books, words and knowledge
    to teach is to live

    themgowl at

  8. Hi Myrna. Good comparison with the houses in HP. I didn't think of that!

    Kim, you are toooo funny! So sorry we'll never get to read your argument for factionless. I'll bet it was great. I've had trouble posting comments on other people's blogs. So I usually select it all and copy (you don't even need to paste it anywhere else), and then if it gets lost I try again and hit paste.

    Hi Jill! Ooo, definite creativeness there. How did you know I like haiku?

    Thanks, all.

  9. What a stellar review-- you've totally gotten me interested!
    Thanks for the great contest!

  10. I would choose Candor because it enables you to have some of the other attributes too. You can speak with candor and also be erudite. Hopefully, the candor is appreciated when it comes from a place of learning. You can be kind and selfless, even when you're blunt. Sometimes, the greatest kindness is telling someone the truth - especially when they're not getting it elsewhere (like hearing from a brutally honest crit partner just when you really need it because your MC is so totally not likeable. If no one told you, you could never fix it. See? Candor as a way of being kind). And I actually think it takes a lot of courage to be honest when the easier route would be to tell a white lie so as not to hurt anyone's feelings.

    That's why I say I would choose Candor.

    But if you asked my family and friends, they'd probably say Candor would choose me, because I just can't keep my mouth shut . . . ;)

  11. I would have to choose Erudite simply becomes learning and passing that learning onto others is the most important thing in my life. I love turning anyone who will listen onto books I have read or information that they what to find, and everything important comes from those who teach and help others find the love of books.

    I adored your review and appreciate the chance to win a copy of this book. It is by far one of my most anticipated books this year.


  12. Interesting, Anonymous Writer; you're the first to choose Candor. How totally honest of you!

    Jan, thanks for the kind words. And welcome to my blog!

    Good luck to everyone who's entered so far. There's still plenty of time for those who haven't.

  13. Me likey. I love dystopia. fingers crossed. I'm sorry I'm late to this party, I blame spring break travel.

    I can't beat haiku. But I'm definitely the Dauntless faction. I fancy myself as a tough girl with a hankering for adventure.

  14. Choosing just one is difficult! I leaned toward Amity at first, until I read Erudite, which seemed to fit me even better. But Dauntless just sounds cool! I've never been afraid of a dare, always wanted to outdo the boys around me. Too many decisions!

    Abnegation? Not for me.
    I more resemble Amity.
    But if Erudite is my choice,
    My Candor will not have a voice.
    As Dauntless as I'd like to be,
    The future is too hard to see.
    And Factionless, alone I'd cry
    Left in the street to rot and die.

  15. Hi Brooke! I'm laughing at "me likey." You're the first Dauntless! And you're not late at all.

    Ooo, Sherrie's getting really creative with a poem mentioning them all. Nice!

    Good luck, ladies!

  16. Apologies Joanne, I totally missed the part about naming my faction.
    I may fit in with Erudite, but what if it's just a bunch of know-it-alls like me?
    I do think I'm kind, but Amity sounds like they'd be the first to go in a disaster. Same with Abnegation.
    I'm too southern for Candor (we like to be nice, not tell the truth).
    and I'm a total WIMP, so dauntless is not for me.

    I guess I'm faction-less, living in a van down by the river!

  17. Oh ha ha, Katharine. Not a problem!

    Interesting take on the factions and factionless.

    Good luck!

  18. Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway! Can't wait to read Divergent!:D I've only heard good things. It was so hard to choose- so I kind of didn't.
    Which to choose? Which to choose?
    Is there any way I can have it all and not lose?

    Abnegation, though nice, only gets one so far,
    Amity's delightful, alas, I'm not up to par.
    The Erudite pursue dusty tomes,
    Brazen Candor are unfailingly honest from the instant they leave the womb.
    The Dauntless are daring, defying,
    I'm none of them- though not for lack of trying.

    And so- I'm factionless,
    a mere fraction
    a start of an insurrection.

  19. Thanks, Kulsuma.

    Interesting how many people seem to be choosing factionless.

    Good luck!

  20. I'm going to go with dauntless mainly because there are so many things that I wish I was braven enough to do or at least attempt to do! However, I think if people really dig down deep, they can be all of them!

    This book looks awesome! *crossing fingers I win!!*

  21. Ah, how brave of you, Kelly. Thanks for entering! Good luck!

  22. I'm a Candor cause if I don't say whats on my mind I implode with sarcastic remarks that can last a person a lifetime. Plus, I get really annoying afterwards and no ones wants to be around me when I am.

  23. Appreciate your honest answer, Pokadots! And welcome to my blog.

    Good luck!

  24. I'll go with Abnegation, since first of all it's a word I'd never heard before today, and I think a little more selflessness in this society would go a long way.

    I've heard a lot about this book and would love to win!

    I'm a new follower.

  25. Welcome, Elle! I'm already following your blog.

    Interesting: you're the first to choose Abnegation (and I'd never heard the word before reading this book).

    Good luck!

  26. 100% Erudite.

    First and foremost I AM a teacher (well not technically right this minute, but I taught for twelve years). Secondly, Erudite would be the only faction that could teach selflessness, friendliness, kindness, honesty, and bravery. Most of those things need to be explicitly taught to children. Kids just don't automatically turn out awesome. You need some kick-butt Erudite teachers to teach them how to be good citizens. You know, kind of like now. Just switch out the word Erudite with: teacher, parent, adult, caregiver.

    I think I just solved the world's problems ; )

  27. Ha ha, Kate! Thanks for entering.

    Good luck!

  28. Phew, I've finally got my entry finished. I had deciding what faction I'd be, and even longer to figure out a creative way to present my answer. Eventually, Charlie Chaplin give me inspiration. Here's my entry:

    I chose Abnegation because it's the faction I'd most *want* to be a part of. I could easily see myself in any of the factions (especially Erudite) but Abnegation is the one I'd choose because selflessness is the trait I admire most. Like Charlie in the video, I hope my selflessness is something that's unconscious and done without thought of repayment, that I'm motivated to act simply because it's the right thing to do. Plus, I think selfless people would be the best people to live with.

    Thanks for the contest, Joanne! It was fun!

  29. Oops, I just looked and saw that what I wrote made no sense. I think I meant to say "I had to TAKE SOME TIME deciding what faction I'd be..." Something like that!

  30. Sliding in right at the end! I'm glad I finally got a second to sit down and go through Google Reader before it was too late!

    I would be Erudite, no doubt about it. :)

  31. Thanks for entering, Stephanie and Meredith. No problem, Meredith. You're in there in plenty of time. Good luck!

    Wow, Stephanie! A youtube video just for my giveaway! Definite points for originality!
    "Candor's definitely a no-go." What a hoot!

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