In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
This is what I do whenever I decide to pick up a Dystopian novel. And it's never a good sigh. It's a I've-read-this-same-exact-story-about-a-half-a-million-times-just-with-a-new-cover-and-a-new-author-name kind of sigh. So as I put off reading this for my local book club that I'm in. Until other members started gushing about how amazing it was.
Yes, still the bad one.
Most of my book club friends really like Dystopian. I, on the other hand, have a love/hate relationship with it. It's never "just okay" for me. It's either really good or really bad. No middle ground. This book was no exception.
THIS IS A GOOD SIGH!
I do not have the words to describe to you how much I loved this book. I thought it was every level of amazing. Seriously. I thought the whole story was daring and bold and, well, just...amazing. Beatrice ("Tris") was such a well-written female protagonist. She was strong, in a quiet, reserved manner, and she was incredibly brave. I appreciated that the author made Tris's interactions with the other initiates realistic. I also liked that the author took risks, not just with the other characters, but also with Tris. I think the risks paid off. I can't imagine it's easy to put your main character through some of the things Tris endures, but that made Tris more genuine and believable. I applaud Veronica Roth for letting Tris get a little (or a lot) banged up.
Four. I think this may be my new favorite number. Or person. Mmmm... a new literary crush. Why do I love bad boys? I have no idea. But Four is a jerk. He's not sympathetic, he's been hardened by lifestyle, and I totally love him. I don't know why it worked for him, but boy, did it work. I liked that he tried to make people better by making them try harder. He was subtle but deliberate. I thought he was a perfect character opposite Tris.
This has officially tied The Goddess Test as my favorite book of the year. There were twists and turns in the story that I never saw coming. I loved every minute I spent reading this, and I was heartbroken when it was over. There are so many things I want to say, but I can't without giving anything away. Just trust me when I tell you that you want to read this book immediately. It was incredible!