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Divergent – The Next Big Thing

by Ronald A. Rowe | July 23rd, 2012 | Tweens

The next Hunger Games has arrived. If you are a parent of a ‘tween you are almost certainly familiar with Suzanne Collins‘ ultra-successful Hunger Games trilogy. The pathos, the angst, the love-triangle, the almost-entirely unsupervised teenagers being forced to make very adult, life or death situations – Collins tapped into the very vein of all that ‘tweens love in story and crammed it all into one novel. Then another. Then another. It was cynical, it was commercial, but it just worked.

Now, a young writer named Veronica Roth (22 years young, to be specific – young enough for every undiscovered aspiring author in the world to envy and hate her) has taken up the slack left after the end of the Hunger Games by creating the next three-part story of a dystopian future filled with pathos, angst, a love-triangle, and almost-entirely unsupervised teenagers being forced to make very adult, life or death situations. The first book in the series, Divergent, came out in May 2011. The second, Insurgent, was just released in May 2012. The success of the sequel among the ‘tweenaged target audience makes this series officially the Next Big Thing. The third and final installment, which is as of yet untitled (Urgent? Resurgent?), is due in book stores in May 2013.

The first book dutifully applied the successful formula of The Hunger Games and created a world that is derivative yet just distinct enough. Read in a vacuum, Divergent would probably be more enjoyable. But it is almost impossible for anyone who read The Hunger Games not to notice the similarities. At times the resemblances go beyond homage to something close to ‘rip-off’.

That said, despite the overwhelming ‘sameness’ Divergent does manage to stand on its own as a decent read. The prose and level of detail are enough to make the book readable to adults. The pathos, the angst, the… well, you know the drill – all that is more than enough to have the ‘tweens clamoring for more. Sadly for those who’ve already blazed their way through the first two volumes, there is just one more to come. As far as I can gather, the series is set to definitively end with the third installment.

If you get on the waiting list at your local library now, your ‘tween may be able to get Insurgent by the time the final book (Submergent?) comes out next spring.

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