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Monthly Book Discussions > March 2012: "Divergent" discussion

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message 1: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK FYI- Divergent comes out in paperback on Feb 28.


message 2: by K. Pearson (new)

K. Pearson | 7 comments I just started it and can't put it down. Has anyone else started it? It has a fast-paced plot and a spunky heroine. I'm curious if anyone else who's reading it is getting hooked...


message 3: by Alexia (new)

Alexia I'm going to start this book tonight. Yay!


message 4: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Kim wrote: "I just started it and can't put it down. Has anyone else started it? It has a fast-paced plot and a spunky heroine. I'm curious if anyone else who's reading it is getting hooked..."

I'm totally hooked. Had a little trouble at first with all the different faction names (amity & erudite? come on) but once I decided it didn't really matter, I was completely sucked in.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 20 comments I gobbled up the book in like 2 days (with working). I really, really loved it. I want to talk about it, but I don't want to ruin any part of it for anyone else.

Definitely one of the best books i've read in a long time. (Which is not saying a lot, because the only books I read nowadays are law textbooks.)


message 6: by Alexia (new)

Alexia My bf is visiting me for the week so between him and work I'm getting very little reading done. Hope to read the entire book over the weekend. So far the book is pretty interesting


message 7: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Rachel wrote: "I gobbled up the book in like 2 days (with working). I really, really loved it. I want to talk about it, but I don't want to ruin any part of it for anyone else."

I think if you start posts on it with big old spoiler alerts, our fellow Lit Lawvers are clever enough to not read them. I'm totally saying that for selfish reasons though, because OMG I CAN'T WAIT TO TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK.


message 8: by Alexia (new)

Alexia I'm about 40% of the way through. I'll definitely have this done this weekend since bf is leaving. I'm really liking it so far. I wonder if they'll make this book into a movie. I'm curious as to what Four looks like. In my mind, he's a Matt Damon / Adam Scott hybrid. mmmmm


message 9: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Alexia wrote: "I'm about 40% of the way through. I'll definitely have this done this weekend since bf is leaving. I'm really liking it so far. I wonder if they'll make this book into a movie. I'm curious as t..."

I never got a clear picture of any character's physical appearance, I don't think. There was a lack of description on looks, but I don't know if that was due to Tris being the narrator (raised in Abnegation, doesn't value appearance, sort of ignores it?) or is just Roth's personal preference, or what. I only got very sketchy nondescript mental pictures, like I think Four is kind of mid-height and not super thin or super muscular, just sort of average, but with piercing eyes. Tris is short and thin. I didn't get many hair colors or anything, though that's kind of nice - descriptions that are too specific often lead to Very Strong Opinions about later revelations, whether it's appearance or movie adaptations or what.

That said, a Matt Damon / Adam Scott hybrid would be fantastic. I'll have one of those.


message 10: by Alexia (new)

Alexia Yeah, Tris really doesn't focus a lot on physical descriptions of the characters. It does make sense since she's from Abnegation. I'm almost done this book (almost 70% of the way through) and I must say I'm really enjoying it.

It's so strange to hear Tris describe love and longing, but have no idea what the emotions mean. That was simultaneously neat and weird. I kept on asking myself (out loud, ha!) how no one can recognize love or other feelings.


message 11: by K. Pearson (new)

K. Pearson | 7 comments Maybe its the abnegation thing that keeps her from recognizing her feelings, since she's been taught not to focus on herself. I agree that its a weird concept, but a really good writing tool to keep the lead character clueless (I'm thinking of Harry Potter). And as for Four, I was picturing Chris Pine's piercing blue eyes...


message 12: by Alexia (new)

Alexia Okay, I'm finally done with this book. I enjoyed reading this book, but I thought the ending was a huge disappointment.


message 13: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne O'connor Loved this book and can't wait for the next volume in the series!!! Funny that you thought of Four as a Matt Damon.....hybrid - I was picturing Ian Somerhalder!


message 14: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 20 comments I thought that Four was too young, I would have liked him to be a little older. (But that might just be me.)

I thought the factions sounded a lot like religious groups.

Spoiler if you're not done:
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Who was shocked that Tris' mother was Dauntless, and why wouldn't she have warned her daughter if she thought things were bad?


message 15: by Alexia (new)

Alexia SPOILER: I kind of figured she was a former dauntless when she showed up for visitation day.

SPOILER: Do you think Al committed suicide or was murdered?


message 16: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (ahealthyjd) I read this book a while ago and was excited this got chosen for March since I've been terribly absent due to a crazy work schedule.

I really enjoyed this book but I thought at times that descriptions fell short. I never thought about this having to do with the nature of the narrator, I always assumed it was a weakness in the writing style but this never jived with my respect for the author.

SPOILER: I loved that Tris' mother was Dauntless, though I don't think it shocked me once she showed up for visitation day.

SPOILER: I think Al did commit suicide, his emotional investment in the entire experience led to what I believe was a true breakdown. Especially after he participated in the event involving Tris...I think this is when he thought he had truly lost himself in this whole process.


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 20 comments I agree with the suicide, though I found it a little hard to believe that he would shift from bring her friend to trying to kill her, so quickly. I should add that I was shocked that her mother would keep that from her all those years. By the time her mom showed up, and knew her way around the cave, it was evident. :)

I loved the book, but the writing was a little too convenient at times.


message 18: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (ahealthyjd) Rachel wrote: "I loved the book, but the writing was a little too convenient at times. "

This is exactly how I felt; I loved the story but thought it could be executed a bit stronger. Once I realized the author was only 22 at the time she wrote this, my irritation in the writing lessened a bit.


message 19: by Alexia (new)

Alexia Rachel wrote: "I agree with the suicide, though I found it a little hard to believe that he would shift from bring her friend to trying to kill her, so quickly. I should add that I was shocked that her mother wou..."

"Convenient" writing. That's a perfect way to describe the quick ending. I felt that things wrapped up way too quickly and had to fit into a nice box. There were very few twists and turns at the end.

I can't believe she was only 22 years old! AMAZEBALLS! I wish I had accomplished something this magnificiant at that age!


message 20: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (ahealthyjd) Alexia wrote: "I can't believe she was only 22 years old! AMAZEBALLS! I wish I had accomplished something this magnificiant at that age!
"


You and me both. Finding out how young Roth is really did change my perspective on how harshly I was judging the writing technique at times.


message 21: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Finley (kaylafinley) | 28 comments Okay, so I'm just like, 100 pages in (got started um, two days ago, ewps), so I'm not reading anything that has been written here yet - but I just wanted to say that the initiation process for transfers feels like law school. Thrown into an unfamiliar world where all of these new skills are required and you get beat up immediately. I feel like I'm going to be factionless at any moment, even though I'm nearing the end of 2L year. Also, I like to pretend that my life is much more dramatic than it is.

I have SO MANY THOUGHTS right now, particularly about the Abnegation faction and way of life, but i'm going to wait to post them until I finish! Can't wait to join in!


message 22: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Finley (kaylafinley) | 28 comments Ugh. One day, MAYBE, I will have the self restraint not to stay up all night reading. Finished at 7:15 AM. This post is really long so I can brain dump and sleep. No specific spoilers until a little ways down, where I indicate it in all caps.

Totally, TOTALLY agreed with (Rachel's? Sorry, on my phone and can't scroll up!) comment that factions were like religious sects, had that thought when I made my post earlier but I need to sit on it for a little while to flesh it out.

I agree with convenient writing in certain parts, but at some point, things have to be resolved one way or another. Whether it works out gloriously or falls apart in a total fit of destruction is up to the author.

Descriptions. On further thought, she did describe quite a bit about people, but not in a typical way. Four was described not so much in "his nose looks this way" as his general aura and demeanor. She would mention how Will's lip curled in a certain way when he smiled, how people interacted, their tells, etc. I do think she tried hard to describe things in an Abnegation way by making it more focused on what the physical traits were representing rather than just simply making a statement.

SPOILER TIME.

I do think Al killed himself.
Not surprised over Mom being Dauntless.

What did you think of the pacing of the romance? I thought the sexual tension was played out well, yet I was disappointed when they finally kissed. It was weird because I wanted them to for the longest time, then I missed the tension. Which now makes me think that romance is just extremely impossible to write...

I thought the end came on really quickly. Like, "oops the book is too long. TIME FOR WAR." we had this whole book that was pretty much a psychological profile and was rooted in themes of fear and change and nature/nurture and identifying and battling inner desires, and the pacing was pretty solid the whole time, then literally overnight it changed drastically. I felt a little smacked in the face by it all, which might have been the point because no one expects to be suddenly surrounded by sleepwalking murderers controlled by an evil faction leader, but I was so not prepared for it. In my own stories I sucked real bad at transitions so I became hyper aware of them and what works/what doesn't.

Overall, I loved the analysis of the human psyche. the idea that good and bad traits can be isolated and emphasized or eradicated is really interesting, but ultimately collapses in on itself. The picture that anything can be taken to extremes is really powerful and something that we struggle with in our society too, and it's a great (and admirable) topic to tackle. On one hand, I think Roth is way too young to really flesh out and address such a theme (because i totally am!) and on the other I love that she tried and did such a passable, even admirable, job at it.

Before I totally crash, I want to ask: thoughts on Caleb's character?


message 23: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Can we just assume that everything from here on has SPOILERS? BECAUSE THIS ONE DOES.

I never considered any possibility for Al's death other than suicide. I didn't see any ambiguity, but maybe I missed it?

The war definitely comes on fast. They take so much time on the test and the choice and the training in each session and then, initiation day, it's like BLAMMO DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. That all said, I absolutely LOVED the ways her parents died - mom in a divergent sort of way by bravely sacrificing herself to save others and dad in an abnegation sort of way being totally selfless. And I'm LIVID that Marcus didn't die but I guess that'll be interesting in the next book. PS, the first two chapters are posted on the facebook page for Insurgent or something. Obsessed.

The human psyche thing is quite incredible. Beyond just isolating those traits, it seems that the people in each faction are totally all-consumed with that one specific character trait, no matter what they're doing. It carries through school and work and play and family time and EVERYTHING and it's quite astounding.


message 24: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Finley (kaylafinley) | 28 comments Jill, I'll take it one step further. It was off-putting that SHE didn't even know that she was attracted to Fourbias. IS OKAY TO LIKE BOYS.

I'm torn on Caleb as well, but I couldn't find any reason for him to know that anything was up before he went to Erudite, as much as I wish that was the case. I don't even think their mother would have known. And Tris saw all of those books in Caleb's room, I really think he chose Erudite for Jill's second reason above. I see him as the overly sheltered kid who rebels and goes off to college far from home, does all of the things he was never supposed to do, realizes it didn't have all of the appeal he thought it would, gives up and comes home. I mean, said college probably wouldn't be taking over the world, but analogies only go so far.


message 25: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK The way I saw it, Caleb picked Erudite because it was where he wanted to be. Nothing more or less. And then he only discovered the plot because their mom visited Tris and told her to visit Caleb and tell him to look into the stuff. After she visited and told him that, he did and figured it out.

Now, why the mom was so secretive and how in the heck she knew anything about it is a much more interesting question... any theories?

I wish there had been more build-up of the conflict. Yes, they mentioned that Erudite and Abnegation weren't getting along and that the Abnegation leader lady was passing out pamphlets, but it would have been nice to hear more about it. I guess they were pissed that the selfless folks were leading government instead of the smart ones? Though it seems there are much better ways available to getting a role in government (especially to smart people).

I hate that Four's real name is Tobias. I don't know why. I just really, REALLY do.

I want to know what would be in my fear landscape. But then, I totally don't because it would be way scary. Eep.


message 26: by Alexia (new)

Alexia There is definitely a few legal situations in my fear landscape. haha.

I only asked about Al's death because I was curious. I think he committed suicide too, but I was just wondering if anyone saw it differently.


message 27: by Newteacherwife (new)

Newteacherwife | 32 comments Kim wrote: "Maybe its the abnegation thing that keeps her from recognizing her feelings, since she's been taught not to focus on herself. I agree that its a weird concept, but a really good writing tool to ke..."

I almost view it as no one truly understands those emotions, and this is just a description of what goes on in many people's minds when they are trying to grasp how they are feeling. I know we have words for these things, but do we TRULY know what they are or how someone else processes and uses those emotions? Just my thoughts.


message 28: by JudgyK (new)

JudgyK Jill wrote: "Ugh, Tobias. It's an awkward name to say and it's decidedly unsexy."

Right? I keep wondering if "Toby" would be better and I keep coming to the same conclusion: no. I knew a Tobias once who went by Toby and then after high school he went to Ringling Bros Clown College. So maybe that's coloring my perception. It's just an awkward name in this book.


message 29: by Kym (new)

Kym | 11 comments I always mean well when I purchase the lit lawyers book of the month, I really do! So imagine my surprise when I sat down three days ago and started Divergent AND COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! I haven't "had to read" a book in a long time. Part of me thinks it's because it is young adult and so easy to read but I also really enjoyed the story.

I wasn't surprised Four was divergent but I did think that "Four" stood for four potential factions he could choose from.

Tobias? Yes, a lame name.

I thought her fear of intimacy showing up was great too. I know I was afraid of intimacy with boys as a teen so it was nice to see someone else write about it.

Loved this book enough to pre-order the next!


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