Books & Review
Updated: Oct 15, 2012 04:06 PM EDT


Roth's story has been compared by many to Suzanne Collins' million-selling "The Hunger Games." And reading the book’s synopsis, it isn’t difficult to figure out why.
(Photo : HarperCollins)

Move over, "Twilight." Take cover "Hunger Games." There's a new angsty teen series ruling the block. The American Library Association young adult division announced Monday Oct. 15 that teens recently chose Veronica Roth's dystopic debut novel, "Divergent," as their favorite book, ranking it No. 1 on the list.

In the poll, John Green's "The Fault of Our Stars" was second, followed by Marie Lu's "Legend," in third. Other favorites included Ransom Riggs' "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," Sarah Dessen's "What Happened to Goodbye" and Beth Revis' "Across the Universe."

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Books by Marissa Meyer, Maggie Stiefvater, Gayle Forman and Meg Cabot also made the list.

Roth's story has been compared by many to Suzanne Collins' million-selling phenomenon "The Hunger Games." Reading the book's synopsis, it isn't difficult to figure out why.


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are-and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Brooding teens of the future mixed up in conflicted romance and morally symbolic life or death struggles? Sounds like high school to us. Toss in a few chaste vampires and we're in "Twilight" territory. 

"Divergent clearly has thrills, but it also movingly explores a more common adolescent anxiety-the painful realization that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically," said The New York Times.

Roth's novel is the first in trilogy she started planning while still attending college. The second novel in the trilogy, "Insurgent," was released in May 2012.

Entertainment Weekly liked the novel but thought it didn't live up to some its hype. "[Divergent] is no 'Hunger Games'; it's much flimsier and less nuanced. Still, I'm hooked - and ready for the sequel," wrote Breia Brissey in her "B+" review.

Summit Entertainment, the studio behind "Twilight," bought the rights for "Divergent" in March 2011, before the novel's release. The film will be produced by Lionsgate and Summit, and helmed by director Neil Burger ("Limitless," "The Illusionist"), with a screenplay by Evan Daugherty.

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