BY NICO VREELAND
Author: Veronica Roth
2011, Katherine Tegen Books
Filed under: Fantasy, Young Adult
I remember when this book came out, back in 2011. The bookstore I worked at, at the time, got an advance copy and I looked it over briefly. In a dystopian future, a young girl coming of age (Tris) must choose which of five factions she belongs to (and hence which quality she values or sees most in herself): Abengation (selflessness); Candor (honesty); Erudite (intelligence); Dauntless (courage); or Amity (friendliness). But since she’s “Divergent,” this choosing process won’t go smoothly, and later there’s a big fight.
It sounded like the world’s most obvious metaphor for teenage identity crisis, and the cover, featuring a big burning Mockingjay-esque symbol, handily informed you that it was a blatant Hunger Games ripoff. I declined to read it, and in the intervening two and a half years, it’s become the most popular series in the world. The final volume in the trilogy, just released last month, set a record in first-day sales for its publisher, HarperCollins. My question is simple: why is this series so popular?
I’m going to try to figure that out, by reviewing all three Divergent books with an eye toward the greater YA craze. Continue reading