Charlie Nolan is caught in the middle. His best friend, Nate, wants to use school discretionary funds to send the Robotics Club to a competition, butCharlie Nolan is caught in the middle. His best friend, Nate, wants to use school discretionary funds to send the Robotics Club to a competition, but his ex-girlfriend, Holly, wants those funds to buy new cheerleading uniforms. When Nate decides to run for student council president to get control of the funds, Holly starts campaigning for Charlie instead. Shenanigans ensue.
This book is delightful. It’s funny, it’s full of wacky antics and shenanigans, and it navigates the treacherous waters of high school cliques without ever resorting to the use of clichés. Even though you could boil the plot down to “jocks vs nerds” (Charlie is the captain of the basketball team), none of the characters or plot points are hackneyed or clichéd; all of the characters feel like real, specific, and unique individuals.
I also really appreciated the treatment of the female characters in this book. Most of the characters are male, but there are a few women – notably cheerleader Holly and Joanna, the lone girl in the Robotics Club. Despite being on opposite “teams,” as it were, neither girl is snide or rude to each other. They aren’t friends, but they are friendly and polite whenever they interact. Holly in particular could easily have been the worst kind of female stereotype, but she wasn’t, which I was glad to see. ...more
Set in a dystopian future version of Chicago, Divergent takes place in a world where everyone is divided into five factions based on their main personSet in a dystopian future version of Chicago, Divergent takes place in a world where everyone is divided into five factions based on their main personality trait: Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the kind), and Candor (the honest). When you turn sixteen, you take an “aptitude test” (a virtual reality simulation) that tells you what your strongest trait is, and then you pick the faction you want to join. Tris, the main character, takes her test only to find out that she is Divergent – that is, the test does not work on her the way it was designed to. She is aware that the test isn’t real and is able to manipulate the simulation the way lucid dreamers can manipulate their dreams. Without the guidance of the test, which faction will she choose – Abnegation, the faction of her family? Or Dauntless, the faction she secretly longs to join? Will she be able to live with her choice? And will she be able to hide the fact that she is Divergent, which is a dangerous thing to be?
I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, action-packed thrill ride of a story that catches you up in the action and sweeps you along relentlessly to the end. I also was very relieved to find that there wasn’t a love triangle! There was a romance subplot, but no love triangle, thank goodness! I am sick and tired of YA love triangles. Also, despite all the action and political intrigue, the main focus of this novel was internal – this book is Tris’s story, it’s her coming-of-age, it’s the narrative of how she learned to truly be herself and how she grew into her own person.
This book suffers from some weaknesses that are fairly common to the YA genre – a very simple, straightforward prose style, occasionally clunky dialogue, and first-person narration (which I personally don’t mind, but many people I know can’t stand). YMMV, though.
The main caution I have for Divergent is the violence. This book is filled with fight scenes, some quite tame, others unexpected and intense (at one point, one character (view spoiler)[sneaks up on another character while he’s asleep and stabs him in the eye with a butter knife, for instance) (hide spoiler)]. However, if you were able to handle the violence in the Hunger Games, you should be able to handle the violence in Divergent. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really enjoyed this book a lot. In a world of magic and magicians, Abby is an ord -- ordinary. She can't use magic, and magic can't affect her, whicI really enjoyed this book a lot. In a world of magic and magicians, Abby is an ord -- ordinary. She can't use magic, and magic can't affect her, which makes her a social outcast. Her status as an Ord is clearly a metaphor for disability, in that the entire world is set up for people who can use magic and the fact that she can't use it means she needs accomdations -- and she needs to learn how to live (and thrive) in a world that thinks she is lesser than they are. Most families react with shame if one of their children is revealed to be an Ord. Abby is lucky; her family loves and supports her. Even so, she has many challenges to face because she's an Ord. She has to rely on her own wits and strength -- and the support of her family -- to make it. A great lesson wrapped up in a great story, not didactic or preachy at all. Recommended!...more
I really enjoyed this novella! It was short and some of the characters -- especially Amelia, the heroine's sister -- were pretty one-dimensional and nI really enjoyed this novella! It was short and some of the characters -- especially Amelia, the heroine's sister -- were pretty one-dimensional and not well-developed, but that tends to happen with novellas. I really liked both Phillipa and Blair; they were both kind, decent human beings in a tough situation who try very hard to do the honorable thing. I really, especially enjoyed how the author resolved the scene where Amelia (view spoiler)[tried to break them up by arranging for Phillipa to walk in on her (Amelia) attempting to seduce Blair, making it look they they were having a torrid affair. Phillipa simply chose to trust Blair. She believed him when he said it wasn't what it looked like. She took what she knew of him and of her sister, and she trusted him. What a novel approach! Delightful! (hide spoiler)].
This novella was quite charming, and I recommend it! This was the first book by Anna Campbell I've read, and I will certainly look for more by that author.["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple oThis was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple of chapters for me to warm up to Bridget, I absolutely loved her by the end of the book); watching Oliver slowly and gently draw Bridget out of her shell and seeing Bridget really come into her own was just delightful. The lyrical, gentle tone of the book was lovely, as was the focus on music and artistic achievement for its own sake. I have a feeling this is going to be a book I reread constantly!...more