This week I read another first in a series, Divergent by Veronica Roth. It is categorized as a dystopian young adult, which means that it takes place in a futuristic setting. This fact stood out to me, as the publishers thought it was more relevant than the romance. I wrote a brief review summarizing the plot and themes. Then I took a few days and did my exploration of the novel’s fan sites, the author’s inspiration, watched the movies, etc.
Ultimately I observed that “the aspect of this story that appeared most often in my search was courage. This is a story about a girl’s pursuit of it, and there were so many images and quotes on how to get past fear, find strength, etc. Sprinkled amongst these were enthusiastic depictions of the romance in the story, yes, but it was very obvious that it was not the main focus for fans.”
The proof of this was evident on so many sites, but the one I found myself returning to most often this time around was Goodreads. There were thousands of reviews to sift through, and though I didn’t come close to reading all of them, the majority had the same enthusiasm and comments. They admired the main character and her determination. Yes, there was excitement about the romance and the setting, but the discussions and compliments featured that word.
This book was released during a time when readers had already experienced the romance of Twilight and The Fault in Our Stars. It had also had a taste of the violence and thrill of The Hunger Games. Maybe audiences weren’t looking for that anymore. They consumed Divergent and all they seem able to talk about was the trials that Beatrice went through and how incredible it was that she overcame them, despite the odds.
“It’s a story about finding who you are, challenging yourself to commit and facing your worst fears. Identity, survival and resistance,” a reader named Sab wrote.
Reader Medeia Sharif admired how the main character “has to dedicate herself to becoming brave and fearless.”
The author herself confirmed that the story is “about choice, identity, and trying to be the best person you can be.”
I concluded my research with noting how “again the question presents itself: What was the fascination for this book? The romance? The character? The setting? The writing? Probably a combination of everything, yes, but from my research I sincerely believe it was the struggle against fear. Young adults can drastically relate to this, as our formative years are a time of transition, anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion.”