Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Divergent for Spring

Sunrise is at 7:35, sunset will be at 5:12. The Olympic mountains are ghostly this morning. The snow glows against the graying skies and the snow-cleared rock is the same shade of sky - the peaks float above the Sound. And now they are pink as the sun has finally risen high enough to illuminate that side of the landscape.

It's sunny and COLD. It isn't back east or Texas cold but it's still cold. Had to cover the daphne again last night so it might have even a few buds open in late February. The lilac buds are beginning to plump up and I heard a bird at 5 am the other day. I guess Punxsatawney Phil is right: Spring must be right around the corner.

I was up until 1 last night, this morning, whatever, reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, a first-time author. What a book! One of the things we did at Winter Institute was a Speed Dating thing: authors spent 15 minutes speaking to us about their favorite books and then they'd move on to the next table and keep spreading the good news. I would say that at least every presenter had at least one book they compared to Hunger Games. Hunger Games meets Twilight, Hunger Games goes feral....I remember talking to someone about that: what if there was no Hunger Games? How would you describe these books then?

Divergent takes place well into the future, in a degrading Chicago, and is the story of a girl who lives in one of five Factions. In the bad days, it was decided that evil, poverty, violence, all these things could be lessened or gone if the world was divided into groups that were the essence of certain virtues. Beatrice is born into the Abnegators, one who gives selflessly, thinks only of others, and is able to think clearly because they have nothing above anyone else. They are also the people in charge of the government because they only think about what would be best for everyone.

At the age of 16, the children are able to choose where they would like to spend the rest of their lives, to switch factions, if they are unhappy, to one that more closely reflects who they are. The other factions are Erudite, the scholarly, research laden, Dauntless, brave and exciting, the ones in charge of training for battle (just in case), Amity, balanced and happy, and Candor, the ones who see through the crap and see things only in black and white, truth tellers.

This one choice can change everything they have ever known, can take them from their families and friends, change who they will ever be.

Beatrice and her brother, Caleb, are 16 and the story begins as they are being tested to see which faction they would best be suited for. Beatrice has begun to really question who she is, she has realized that she is not suited for selfless giving, she feels selfish and questioning, not an Abnegator. When she decides, she chooses the most opposite faction she can: Dauntless.

This is an amazingly compelling read. Filled with exciting action, evil people, great romance, big ideas and massive fallibility- I truly could not put it down, and neither could Annie, one of my co-workers at Third Place. I started it last night at 9:30 and was truly concerned that I would not finish before midnight. I didn't, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't know how this first part ended.

This book will be garnering a ton of buzz and press, so order it up from your local, independent bookstore.

I probably should have finished the rest of the first chapter of Getting Things Done that I have to have done by tomorrow before I picked up Ms. Roth's novel. I can read a 487 page book like Divergent in a single bedtime reading and it takes me days to get through 53 pages of a business book. Hmmm. (Divergent will be available in May, 2011. Age14 and up. $17.99.)

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