I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Summit Entertainment. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
I found “Divergent” while wandering in a bookstore looking for a beach read. As soon as I read the description on the back I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for, but I needed it nonetheless. “Divergent” is often lumped in with every other dystopian story published in the last few years, and while the dystopian society and the female lead are similar, the entire book is devoted to people who are different and not normal.
It’s been a few years since I read “Divergent”—two additional books were written and the second movie in The Divergent Series is set to be released March 20, 2015—but all the reasons I enjoyed Tris’s story are still important and relevant. With the release of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” coming out this month, it seems like a good time to reminisce about all the reasons we fell into Veronica Roth’s well-crafted society.
“Divergent” takes place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where people are split into one of five factions or forced to live on the streets. Most of these homeless are actually divergent, meaning they don’t fit in a box like society wants them to. Beatrice “Tris” Prior, our heroine, challenges the expectations set by her family to stay in their faction, Abnegation, by choosing another, Dauntless, and sets herself on a dangerous course. Almost the entirety of the first book and movie focus on the fact that Tris is brave, the subsequent attribute of her faction. In Dauntless, fearlessness is necessary and required to move into a contributing member of the faction. The book and movie do an excellent job of reminding us that while being brave is noble so is being kind, selfless, honest, and intelligent.
Tris’s love interest, Tobias “Four” Eaton, shows Tris and the audience—who, in the wake of the first “Divergent” movie, was asked to take quiz after quiz to determine their own faction—that being who you are despite not fitting in a box was the point, a fact obvious to anyone who read the first novel. In “Divergent,” the factions put you into categories: selfless (Abnegation), honest (Candor), intelligent (Erudite), peaceful (Amity), or brave (Dauntless), but it is the “other” category that shows Tris and the audience that being one thing is not enough.
Even as an adult, I love reading YA books. I love seeing the array of complex female characters that sometimes were lacking in the stories I read as a girl. “Divergent,” and subsequently “Insurgent,” were stories I couldn’t relate to with complex families that I still felt compelled to follow.
Like her YA dystopian counterpart, Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games,” many people have focused on Tris’s complicated love life rather than on Tris herself. Some might have come to the story for the romances, the complicated family dynamics, or a world with factions, but we stayed for Tris’s story. For her compelling, unwavering desire to fix the broken world she lives in. Her motives are not entirely selfless and that is clear the second installment of Roth’s “Divergent” series, “Insurgent,” which follows the events at the end of “Divergent.”
If you haven’t seen the first movie: Beware there are spoilers ahead.
Check out the trailer for “The Divergent Series: Insurgent”
“Divergent,” despite being published in the YA section, is not just for teens. I shared the books with friends and family, and convinced my mom to join me and my sister to see the first movie. It wasn’t just fans of the books that flocked to the theatre. “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” will likely have more action than the first, as we are meeting up with Tris not as a selfless member of Abnegation, but as a brave Dauntless and as uncategorizable as Divergent.
In the first book and movie, my favorite parts involved serums, used to categorize people into factions as well as show them their fears, make them be honest, or force them to act as mindless puppets. I loved diving into people’s heads and watching them in their test or meeting and conquering their fears. I spent a lot of time thinking how I would react to the test, and what my fears would be if I was given those serums.
I do not envy Tris’s journey. It is hard, much like life, and like all young adults she must decide the person she wishes to become, and learns that her choices—both successes and mistakes—will form her relationships. Tris is obviously the hero of this story (for those who read “Allegiant” you know what I mean), but her story isn’t over, and I for one am excited for more action involving Four, and the drama that comes with life and death decisions and the evil leader of Erudite (Jeanine Matthews, played by Kate Winslet).
I am excited to see Tris’s journey continue in the newest installment of Roth’s stories out on March 20, 2015.
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