Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Young Adult Film Series - Divergent

The Hunger Games movie, which has a March 23, 2012 release date, made the cover of Entertainment Weekly last week! In addition to pages and pages about this upcoming film and its sequels, there was an article about all the young adult series that are being adapted for film, in the hope of finding the next hit franchise.  In Find Me a Twilight, Sara Vilkomerson and Stephan Lee take a look at several series the studios are swooning over. Allie Condie's Matched series (see 12/2/10 blog), Maggie Stiefvaters Wolves of Mercy Falls series (see 3/11/10 blog), Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, Lauren Oliver's Delirium series, and Catherine Fisher's Incarceron series will soon be making their way to a theater near you. Veronica Roth's Divergent, which came out earlier this month, is also slated for the silver screen.
Set in a dystopian Chicago, Divergent is about a futuristic world where all people are born into one of five factions which have a different strength and focus: Abnegation (service), Amity (friendship), Candor (truth), Dauntless (fearlessness) or Erudite (intellect). On their sixteenth birthday, teens take an aptitude test and can choose to remain with their factions or change allegiances.  The main character Tris chooses to leave behind her gray robes and loving Abnegation family to become one of the tattooed and reckless Dauntless, a choice even she doesn't understand. As she begins the Dauntless training, that is much like a violent military boot camp, Tris discovers that only ten of the trainees will be accepted into the final group. Although she appears small and child like, she succeeds beyond her wildest dreams and begins to make enemies and form alliances; her demanding instructor "Four" takes particular interest in her that evolves from protectiveness to love.  What Tris doesn't know is that much of her success is because she is actually a Divergent, with the strengths of multiple factions. This makes her a target of the merciless autocratic leaders who kill divergents because they are hard to control. As in all dystopian literature, Tris and her friends fight the status quo in hopes of creating a "brave new world," where all inhabitants live in harmony. 
The first of a trilogy, Divergent, has a satisfying ending, but sets up the conflict for the future.  The book is an action packed page turner with descriptions of Tris's initiation process which are as riveting as they are violent. The tender romance between Tris and Four will have readers coming back for more. Due to the graphic violence, I would recommend Divergent for more mature readers

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