Divergent is another addition to the YA dystopian genre. This series of books follows the life of the teenage Tris who lives in a dystopian version of Chicago. The city is divided into different factions that all have different virtues. One day a year, all sixteen year olds must choose which faction they will spend the rest of their life with. Tris chooses to leave her family and friends behind and join the Dauntless faction.

Separated from her family, the other initiates in Dauntless become like her family. The training is quite tough and only the top ten will be allowed to stay in the faction. Those that don’t make the cut will become factionless and be forced to survive on their own. While she is trying to adjust to her new life, she is also faced with increasing tensions between the five factions that could lead to all-out war.

As with many YA books, Divergent looks at the relationship between Tris and her parents and how this changes over time. This book is often compared to The Hunger Games and the parallels between the two can be quite obvious. This is particularly true in relation to the violence that Tris faces. Romance is another key plot point of the novel when Tris starts to fall for her instructor, Four.

While Divergent is similar in many ways to other dystopian YA novels, it sets itself apart in that the main character realises over time the strength that she has within. She chooses a faction that she knows is uncertain and quite possibly will be unsafe, but she believes that it is the right choice for her. This novel is a good example for young readers; choosing the safe option might be easy but sometimes forcing yourself into difficult circumstances can make you happier than you thought.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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