by Veronica Roth
genre: dystopian, YA
Synopsis from Goodreads
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Absolutely stellar reviews, I first added it to my TBR pile because it won the Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award. When I started reading it, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. There are some good concepts and fantastic quotes. It’s spurred conversations with my roommates on a number of occasions. But if I grade it purely on my level of enjoyment, it falls flat.
At first I was annoyed by Roth’s (apparent) definition of strength and bravery. Sorry kiddo, you’re not athletic enough to jump on a moving train or land on a rooftop (even though you were brave enough to jump off a moving train onto a rooftop) so you fail or die. Then it clicked. Roth was making a point of distorting the good traits into negative ones. That helped me like the book more, but it took a while to get interesting and I didn’t connect with Tris. Around the 80% mark, I wanted to shake Tris and be like “WTF is wrong with you? Do you have a death wish or are you an idiot?”
Then I hit the final chapters and, how can I put this…
However, there’s enough good material for several blog posts, so if you’re a blogger, this is a good book (or if you’re in a book club).
Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.
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