Divergent by Veronica Roth
I downloaded the audiobook from the public library's OverDrive service.
This dystopian young-adult novel is told by 16-year-old Beatrice as she learns a startling fact about herself-- that she is "divergent," or not well-aligned with any of the five "factions" that make up her society. This is a dangerous way to be, so Beatrice has some choices to make as she picks a faction and attempts to assimilate.
Divergent will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games, though there is more kissing and the direct cause of the action is much less grim. The narration is in first-person present-tense, which helps to convey a sense of urgency but may weary those who are not frequent YA readers.
While the world that Roth creates does not have much glaring inconsistency, it still requires the reader to suspend a lot of disbelief. The basic premise of the society is interesting but will not bear much scrutiny, and the crescendo of action in the latter portion of the book really breaks down. Major players are one-dimensional, the technology that makes the conflict possible is not very plausible, and the solutions are too quick and too pat.
Still, the book is entertaining and most readers will be able to forgive the rushed and less-than-believable ending for the sake of the parts that precede it if they are able to suspend their disbelief in this model for a dystopian society.
There is a lot of action in Divergent, and the world is not as bleak as the one Katniss has to face in The Hunger Games, to which it will inevitably be compared. The action made this a good running companion, and Emma Galvin does a great job with the reading. I liked that the romance arc was present but not overwhelming; most teenage relationships in YA make me want to gag, which is why I am hesitant to read most YA. I had this one loaded onto my Zune for ages and ages, however, and couldn't put it off any longer. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, perhaps because my expectations were set so low.