So in just two week, I had SIX PEOPLE ask me if I'd yet read Divergent. I had the ARC sitting on my shelf gathering dust for months, and I decided that last weekend was the time to read that book. Um, ya. I started it at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and didn't put it down until I finished it. The last book I read cover to cover like that was Graceling, and you all know how much I loved that book...
Anyway, back to Divergent.
In distopian, futuristic Chicago, there are five factions that govern the city... think Hogwarts houses but more, well, dystopian and YA. Each faction is completely dedicated to a particular virtue, and the people who live within that faction focus on nothing else. Tris, who was born in the selfless Abnegation faction has to work every day to be as completely selfless as the faction demands. When youth turn 16 they get a one-time opportunity to choose whether to stay in their faction or switch to a new one. They undergo a grueling test that lets them know which faction they are naturally inclined toward. Tris is special... she is divergent. This means that there are several factions she would fit within, but she must keep her divergence a secret... but no one will tell her why.
When Tris chooses to leave Abnegation and join Dauntless, the faction that honors bravery over all other virtues, she has to master a huge amount of physical skills (think Katniss/Hunger Games). Although she's invigorated by her choice, when it becomes clear that the factions aren't functioning in the sociologically perfect way they were designed, action must be taken. And it doesn't matter that she's the tiny "Stiff" from Abnegation... Tris is Dauntless now, and she feels the weight of her realm and people's survival-- both Dauntless and Abnegation-- heavily on her shoulders.
This is the first in a trilogy. I'd recommend it to youth who enjoyed Hunger Games, Matched, and The Maze Runner.