Divergent by Veronica Roth — Book 1 in the Divergent trilogy
Divergent rocked my world. After seeing that it was being billed as the next Hunger Games (I swear, it seems like everything is being billed as the next Hunger Games these days), I was a little skeptical but like I’ve said before a bazillion times — I am a sucker for dystopians. The whole faction premise sounded interesting, and a lot of the reviews I was reading seemed really good so I finally bought a copy of Divergent and what do you know… it got lost in the cross-country moving process. Le sigh. A couple of months ago, I happened to pick up another copy on sale at B&N and promptly stared at it on my bookshelf for several months. Le sigh again (freakin law school!). BUT I finally read Divergent in January, and OMG I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. It’s nearly 500 pages and I’m in law school, but WHO CARES because I finished that shit in 2 days. WOAH. I absolutely loved Tris, the main character, because she totally kicks ass. Like my other favorite YA heroines (Katniss & Katsa, from The Hunger Games and Graceling, respectively), Tris does what she has to do to and kicks some ass and takes some names in the process. One of my favorite parts though was the romance between Tris and a certain guy who I shall not name in case you’ve haven’t read it yet, not because I’m a romance-y type girl (I’m not) but because it doesn’t suffer from the very prevalent YA disease of insta-love. I am not a fan of insta-love at all. Also, it gets all political towards the end, and I love me some politics. Especially the scheming kind.
Divergent is one of those books that you will be unable to put down until you figure out what happens, and then you will instantly jump online and pre-order Insurgent (book 2 in the trilogy), which comes out May 1st. I guarantee this because this is exactly what I did and exactly what my best friend did when I forced this book on her last week at a bookstore while I was visiting her in Chicago (yay! Chicago). She promptly read it on her flight home to LA for Spring Break, and finished it in 2 days as well.
** Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads, just in case you somehow aren’t already convinced that you need to read it:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves … or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
The Girls of Murder City is a twofold history, telling both the story of the infamous girl gunners who captured Chicago’s attention in the 1920s and of the intrepid girl reporter who covered their trials and turned her experiences into the Broadway phenomenon Chicago. In presenting the sensation that was Chicago’s lady murderesses, Perry focuses his attention on two in particular that captivated the citizens of Chicago and stood out on Cook County’s Murderess Row — “Beautiful Beulah” Annan and Belva Gaertner. Belva stood accused of murdering a man purported to have been her lover in a drunken spat in a parked car in the dead of night; Beulah was accused of shooting a man thought to be her lover in her home when he threatened to leave her. If either of those stories sounds familiar, then it’s probably because these twin crimes and their subsequent trials served as the basis for Maurine Watkins’s wildly successful play Chicago. Perry introduces us to Maurine as she attempts to become a reporter for the Chicago Tribune on its police beat (and actually succeeds in doing so). Her first major assignment involves Belva Gaertner’s case, and she becomes the main reporter following the trial of Beulah Annan as well. Maurine’s journalism contributed to the Tribune’s reputation as a “hanging paper,” but more importantly it opened her eyes to the sensationalism and circus atmosphere of the criminal system in Chicago, in which criminals were becoming instant celebrities.
Alternating between Maurine’s scathing journalistic indictments of the two murderesses in the Tribune and the circus acts that were Belva and Beulah’s imprisonment and trials, Douglas Perry presents us with a wonderful social history of crime and sensationalism in the Jazz Age. It has the easy readability and draw of other crime-related social histories like Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City or Paul Collins’s The Murder of the Century. The 2002 movie version of Chicago is one of my absolute favorite movies, and there were so many times where I could picture the action of Perry’s narrative playing out just like I could picture the movie playing in my head (“They both reached for the gun!”). By the end of the book, I was hooked on the topic and wanted nothing more than to dust off my DVD of Chicago and pop it in to watch.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Girls of Murder City from the publisher to participate in the Unputdownables Early Readers Group.