Yes, I know the books are located in the “young adult” section. Yes, I was aware that most of the audience in the movie theater this weekend were high school students. I simply do not care. I love the Divergent trilogy and I’m not a teenager.
I am still in the middle of book three (NO SPOILERS, PEOPLE) but I can not stop thinking about the characters and the story.
I stumbled into the YA genre a lot later than many of my friends. My gateway book was John Green’s brilliant The Fault in Our Stars. After completely loving the book I then felt something akin to jealousy that teens today have such an honest and fulfilling category of books to dive into. I won’t disrespect the Sweet Valley Twins, but they just aren’t in the same league as the new generation of YA.
After reading everything Green wrote I moved on to Rainbow Powell. Her Eleanor and Park was my favorite book of 2013. From there I dipped my toe into YA fantasy and read The Hunger Games and then Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.
Divergent was next on my list and I knew within the first few pages that it was going to be my favorite. I instantly responded to the idea of panic over not fitting in. The story of a world divided into tribes of people based on their inner character was oddly comforting to me and I found myself thinking about what that kind of life would be like. What faction would I be in? What would my aptitude test reveal about me?
The author of the Divergent series, Veronica Roth, got the idea for the books while she was in college at Northwestern. A news report from Northwestern reveals Roth wrote the first book over the winter break of her senior year, had an agent by early spring, and by the end of spring had a three-book deal from HarperCollins.
When elaborating about where the idea for the series came from, Roth shared with Seattle Times:
“I think that you have to choose at 16 is more of an emotional reality for young people than an actual reality. Because we know when you grow older, you can change your mind. You can change your career. You can change your whole life. You don’t have to pick it at 18. But, when I was 16, I felt like I had to decide right now. Figure out what classes you are going to take. Make sure you’re getting good grades. Prepare your college application. Pick your major. Plan your whole life. That felt real to me so I wanted it to be on the page.”
Roth has recently spoken about her battle with anxiety. She opened up to People about being in therapy for her disorder and explains, “Anxiety keeps you in a kind of self-made prison. It keeps you from doing things you otherwise might have because you’re too terrified.”
When you read Divergent it is clear the author knows fear. The very concept of a “fear landscape” in which characters navigate and battle all of their fears is a huge part of the story, and it reminded me a lot of journaling through fears as a way to problem solve.
I was nervous to see the film this weekend because I have created such a vivid image in my mind about what the world of Tris and Four looks like. I got to the theater twenty minutes early and watched the teenagers pour into the seats near me. A few minutes before the previews started I saw some women my age walk in, and we made eye contact and grinned. MOVIE TIME!!
There are a lot of things in the film that are different from the book, but that is 100% to be expected. What I didn’t expect was how much the movie enhanced the story for me. The world that I had in my mind was just a sketch compared to the amazing creation that was on the big screen. Shailene Woodley was a perfect Tris and Theo James as Four was dark and stormy. Theo is older than the character in the book, but I wasn’t bothered by this at all. There is a lot more of the character Jeanine Matthews in the film than in the first book, but I imagine when you have Kate Winslet on set you make it work.
I can’t wait until the next movie!! And OMG I have to finish the third book before I stumble across a spoiler…
Did you see Divergent this weekend? Have you read the books?
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