What I’m Reading (and a giveaway!): DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you. The tagline for this book could not be truer.

Summary from the Roth’s site:

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…As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are…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.

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of DIVERGENT, and I must say, I have not read a novel so quickly since THE HUNGER GAMES. I flew through this book. It sunk its claws into me and kept me reading late into the night.

Quick paced and full of action, this book is near impossible to put down. Tris’ dystopian world is well defined and unfolds fluidly. As a reader, you have no trouble understanding the magnitude of the choice she faces and feeling a sense of dread as her initiation progresses. The novel has its fair share of fighting and violence and if THE HUNGER GAMES made you squeamish, this read likely will too. But to balance out the blood, strong friendships are formed and tested, and an unexpected (and surprisingly charming) romance springs up partway through the book. It is certainly not the primary plot point of Tris’ tale, but you’ll find yourself rooting for her nonetheless.

I think the most interesting thing about this book though, is the idea of a single choice transforming who you are. Can you truly commit yourself to one virtue and one alone for the rest of your life? Is it even possible to be just one thing? People are often shades of gray, and yet in Tris’ world, citizens are expected to make a single choice and put that choice above all else, even their families. Faction before blood. It is a painful idea, one that Tris struggles with over the course of her initiation, and one that readers too will question alongside her.

I will certainly be rushing out May 3rd to pick up a hardcover version of this for my bookshelf. And since I’ll be purchasing my own copy, I wanted to pass along this ARC to another reader (who will hopefully buy the hardcover in due time as well). So…

» Giveaway Details!

Tris is one tough cookie. She jumps to/from moving trains, packs a punch and follows her heart. She is fearless in more ways than one, and this has a big impact on the outcome of her tale. So tell me, what is the most fearless thing you have ever done?

Contest rules:

  • Leave a comment answering the above question to enter. Remember, there are many different kinds of bravery. Think hard! :)
  • +1 entry: Tweet about this contest (with a link to this page) and include a link to your tweet (for verification) with your comment.
  • Available to US participants only. (Sorry folks!) Contest is open until 11:59 PM (EST) on Wednesday 3/30, so enter quickly! Winner will be announced by 4/1.

** NOTE: I approve comments before they appear on this site, but rest assured that if you submit your comment at 11:59 or earlier on 3/30, it will qualify as an entry (It may just take me until the following morning to approve it and push it live)

** UPDATE 3/31: We have a winner! I so enjoyed reading everyones’ bravest moments. Thank goodness Random.org picked the winner for me, because if I had to do it myself I wouldn’t have known where to begin! Random.org has informed me that the winner should be my first entrant, so congrats to Katy. Katy, send me an email (erin at embowman dot com) with your mailing address and I’ll make sure I get this fantastic read to you. To anyone and everyone else: go pick up this book when it hits shelves May 3rd. Trust me, you want to read it! :)

20 Responses
  1. The bravest (and best!) thing I’ve ever done? Become a parent! I doubt there are many things that are scarier or more life changing. Second? Jump on the wild ride to publication. :)

  2. I’m not entering. But I just want to say that I adore your review.

    My bravest moment? I’m not sure — nothing I’ve done seems entirely fearless in retrospect (though I’m sure they did at the time).

  3. Taragel

    I think the bravest thing was probably moving to New York City, where I knew no one and had no place to live, right out of college.

  4. The bravest thing I’ve ever done: quit my full time job to focus on writing (I still had a part-time job that paid the bills, but the decision was terrifying).

    Divergent sounds awesome–I love bold heroines :)

  5. Okay, so I can’t enter, but let’s make Erin feel popular. :)
    Bravest thing… okay, I have no idea. I’ve made a few decisions that have been risky, but not exactly courageous.

  6. Oh, pick me, pick me!!!

    Hmm, the most fearless thing I’ve ever done? Probably deferring grad school to LSE because I felt a special spark with a boy I met at the beach. My mom thought I was crazy, my friends thought I was stupid, but I did it for love, baby! And now that boy is my husband. :)

    I tweeted about the contest! http://twitter.com/#!/ctrichmond

  7. Hmm, I think one of the bravest things I’ve done so far was moving to Germany by myself when I was 21. That or reading my manuscript aloud at a writer’s workshop ;)

  8. Ooh, I can’t wait to read DIVERGENT!

    I think the bravest thing I did was moving to DC after college. I grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in PA and all of my family–aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents–lived within an hour radius. I went to college in a sleepy Eastern Shore town. Following my own path, moving to the city–my parents still don’t understand how I can like it here. But I do!

  9. Melissa

    Thank you for having this giveaway!

    I think the most fearless thing I’ve ever done is try to achieve my dream of becoming a published writer. It’s been a scary and thrilling ride so far!

  10. This book has amazing buzz going on, and I’d love to get my hands on an ARC!

    There’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. We all have a little bit of both inside. But when my brothers and I stumbled across our neighbor–a socially awkward kid with huge curly hair–we acted. He was missing his shoes because some other bullies had taken them and were in the process of tossing them into the dumpster behind the elementary school we attended. I, brothers in tow, ran towards this cluster of bullies (there must’ve been five or six) and asked what was going on. Our neighbor, sobbing, said “They said they’re going to beat me up and throw me in the trash”. The bullies didn’t deny it. They only jeered. So, being a little larger than a few of them, I stood my ground. I told them to climb in and get our neighbor’s shoes out. They refused, so my brothers went in after them, while I stared down these bullies. When the first one shoved, I shoved back–hard. He sprawled into his cohort and then they ran. Our neighbor boy’s shoes were retrieved, and we walked home.

    It honestly took me a while to think of a bravery story, but this one still makes me a little proud. I still very much believe those who can should defend those who can’t.

  11. The bravest thing I’ve ever done: picking up and moving to NYC, without knowing a single person there. I got an internship, and 3 weeks later moved to a brand new city, to live with roommates I’d never met. It was scary as hell, but one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.

  12. Your review has only made me want to read it even more. Thank you so much for this giveaway!

    Bravest thing I’ve ever done was lead the way during an earthquake. Living in California usually means you’re bound to feel at least several earthquakes in your life. There was one year where I was home alone with my two younger sisters (both just in elementary). My mom had gone out to do some grocery shopping. About fifteen minutes after she left, the ground shook. The medals on the wall fell, my glass of water shattered, and I was dizzy for at least five seconds into the quake. I panicked. This was actually the first earthquake I’ve ever felt, but I knew I had to lead the way for my younger siblings. So I ran inside to their rooms and rushed them outdoors. Which is really stupid now that I think of it. Isn’t it more dangerous outside?

    Yup. Pretty lame.

    +1 tweeted http://twitter.com/sunxxmoon/status/52529121720414208

    Thanks again! :)

  13. Kelsy

    This sounds great, I can’t wait to read it when it comes out! Aside from being incredibly intrigued by this awesome recommendation, I loved reading everyone’s stories!!

    I’ve never been that brave of a person, aside from the occasional spontaneous risk or gamble. Recently, however, I’ve made a decision to do what will probably be one of the scariest (yet rewarding) experiences of my life: In September, I am going to live in Peru for four months. I will be volunteering at a medical center in Limatambo, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, two hours outside of Cuzco. I will be living in an orphanage with a family I’ve never spoken to or met, in a village with NO internet OR telephone, and trying to converse in Spanish, a language I haven’t truly studied in over three years. I’m studying now of course, but I haven’t taken classes since high school and am far from an adequate communicator. I’m also afraid how this trip will affect all my relationships back home, including my boyfriend of two years, who although is very supportive, is also (understandably) somewhat less than thrilled :(

    I suppose this doesn’t really count since I haven’t done this yet, but I do have my date set and everything. No matter how nervous or anxious I might get, I won’t give up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

  14. Iris Zhao

    Obviously, I would not belong in Dauntless, because of my next to nothing amout of brave actions. The thing I feared the most until recently, though, was talking to people. To the people in my class last year, I was shy, quiet, got the best grades in class, but was antisocial and refused to say a word to anyone, reading books instead of talking. I hid behind various Harry Potters and copies of Little Women, Tuck Everlasting, and other books everyone deemed lame. I started connecting when I met a classmate. She was everything I wasn’t: popular, outspoken, pretty, the works. Admittedly, when I first met her it wasn’t like “Oh, my god, we were destined to be BFFs!” Then, one day, I decided to take a risk. THE biggest i had done in my life. I preferred safety and comfort. Not risk, where you could injure your leg or head or arm…or ego. She was in student council, and I wrote a note of thanks to her for all she did for the school. Very old school, some people said. But when a response came, I decided maybe it was time to come out of my shell. Maybe I could at least try to be friends with this girl. Then I walked up to her during lunch and asked if I could sit with her. Notice, the popular table wasn’t something you could just walk up to and sit there. Most people even avoided the popular table. What I did was considered dangerous. The whole grade was staring at me like I went crazy. Which, in a way, I had. A person couldn’t just go up and walk to the popular table and ask to sit there. Especially not if they spent a ton of time hiding behind books, and the first thing they say is “Hey, can I sit with you?” Absolutely prepostorous. It was the beginning of a friendship to last though. I soon discovered she was funny, smart, and a great person to hang with. In less than a year, the same person who was a “total recluse” would turn into the exact opposite of one. And i couldn’t have been happier.

  15. Erica O.

    The most fearless thing I have done is to be completely homest and open with a person who held my heart in his hands and eventually broke it. It was hard to get past but with famalies and friends by my side I became whole again.

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