Ah, the book that spurred Grad Student and Goosie Mama's epic bar discussion regarding Young Adult Fiction, female protagonists and angsty teen romance.
Okay, so I may get slaughtered for this, but I have to be honest with how I felt about the Hunger Games trilogy and specifically Ms. Katniss Everdeen:
The books were a good, quick read for sure, but something frustrated me so absolutely about Katniss that I had trouble really loving the series. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that bothered me, but her character never seems to really accept and/or realize her awesomeness. Clearly, she was a strong, independent young woman (should I be playing Beyonce in the background of this entry?!), but she was always so unsure and so afraid to admit that.
I'm not saying that lots of young women (women in general?) struggle with accepting their inner strength (Oprah-ness?), but it's frustrating when that insecurity is spread over 600+ pages. Get real, KE, you're effing boss! Own it!!
So, anyways back to Divergent, I was obsessed with this book. I'm just going to lay it all out here: I liked it way more than Hunger Games. I liked Tris's insecurity was transformed into confidence over time and, in my mind's eye, Four (slash Tobias. Yes, Grad Student, it is an awful name.) was way hotter - was it the tattoos? Prob. Whatever.
Divergent and Hunger Games had a lot of similar themes woven throughout, but I just felt like Divergent was more gripping in the character development and overall writing (yes, Hunger Gamers, I hear you gasping).
Clearly, Grad Student was in disagreement and we got into a heated discussion (at a sports bar, no less) about all the reasons why. Grad Student's final point was there were plenty of other dark, loner dudes to pine over that were way better than Four/Tobias, but I guess I'm a sucker for dark eyes and mysterious tattoos (note, I've never dated anyone with tattoos!).
I cannot wait until the sequel comes out (or, to be perfectly honest, until the NYPL gets an ebook version of it) and I hope it doesn't disappoint!
So without further adieu:
- Originality: 5; I'm going middle of the road on this one because I think the teen-dystopian-strict-societal-order-forbidden-love genre is one that's being overrun, but I think Ms. Roth had this idea several years ago, so I can't speak to that influence on this book
- Absurdity: 2; I have to borrow from Grad Student and say it's a dystopian fiction, it is what it is! Just go with it!
- Level of [Paranormal] Romance: 6; Ignoring the paranormal part right now, there's some good "Does he like me? I like him. Should I tell him? I don't know ... HALP!!" aspects to the book - what's better than a little romantical suspense? Not much.
- Level of Harry Potterness: I'll give Ms. Roth a nice solid 6/7 on this. I thought it was well written and kept the reader engaged.
I'm struggling reconciling how much I loved this book with the aforementioned ratings, so may this wasn't the right scale. End of the day? READ THIS BOOK.
That is all! :)
PS- addendum from Grad Student: How did these two sides ever reconcile HG v. Divergent? Three words: Carly Rae Jepsen. On repeat. On the corner of 7th Avenue. Enjoyed it just like my friend JBeibs here.