The second movie of this popular series is soon to be released, but the concept originated as a 2008 novel by Chicago native Veronica Roth.

The story is narrated in first person by Beatrice “Tris” Prior, who lives in future dystopian Chicago. The city’s society is divided into “factions” based on values: Abnegation for selflessness, Amity for peace, Candor for honest, Dauntless for bravery and Erudite for intelligence.

Every year, there is a choosing ceremony, where all sixteen-year-olds have the choice of staying with their native faction or deciding to join another one. Before the ceremony, they take a test to determine which faction is fit for them. Tris discovers she is “Divergent,” or one that does not fit into any particular faction, a species that is considered a threat to the balance of society. She has to maintain her choice of faction while uncovering deeper secrets within the nation’s leadership.

There are comparisons to the Hunger Games series. Tris and Katniss are both strong female protagonists and the concept of “factions” is identical to the Hunger Games’ separate “districts,” as is the setting of a dystopian society. However, Divergent is set in real-life Chicago instead of Hunger Games’ fictional nation of Panem. The themes of the two also differ, as the Hunger Games reflects tyranny and control while Divergent is more about conformity and choice.

I admire Roth for being able to complete a novel as a student. According to her website, she wrote the book while still a student at Northwestern University. I like the fact that she is young and yet was write a book series that became a sensation, a change from most popular book series that are usually written by experienced and veteran writers.

If a fan of the Hunger Games, this book will appeal to you. It could one day be the world as we know it.

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