Insurgent by Veronica Roth

(May 9, 2012)
I have really enjoyed having the time to read fun, fiction books during the past few weeks.

On May 1st, Veronica Roth's sequel to Divergent, titled Insurgent, came out, and I was extremely excited about it! I find myself  lucky, having finished the first book just days prior to the sequel release, and not having to wait a long time to read Insurgent. The current buzz on the book is that Roth did not opt to do a tremendous amount of summarization of the previous novel.

Of course it is difficult to write a book review for a sequel without divulging too much about the plot, so there are some spoilers. You have been warned.

First, the strengths: Tris has lived through a harrowing experience on her Initiation Day, including deaths of her parents and of one of her friends (covered in Divergent). I felt that her hesitance around guns, the persistence of her nightmares, and the way she made wanton decisions that put herself in risky situations, made her pain very real, very pervasive, and very natural. Despite all the activity that was going on around her, Tris had to continue to force her way to work through these fears and deaths and incorporate them into her world view. Instead of haunting her, these events eventually drove her actions and goals.

We also get a chance to view the different factions and the different capacities in which they work. Since the first book focused on Abignation and Dauntless (and a little bit of Erudite), we at least get to see the inner workings of Amity and Candor. Proving herself truly Divergent, it makes sense that Tris can make attempts to blend in, but never truly does fit in.

Her relationship with Four flourishes, and we find him to be a far more complex character with many more layers than he initially let on. And the torture. And the betrayal. And the twist! It has been years since I got full-body goosebumps at the end of reading a novel (yes it was that good!)

Then the weaknesses: Tris has a lot of talent, instinct, and natural prowess to protect and act as she is brave and self-less. But she sure does need some rescuing! Roth makes a point to illustrate many situations that are almost impossible to get out of, surely to build suspense and to make the book the page-turner that it is, but it seems like Four is Tris's version of a savior over and over again. Yes, it is a romance. Yes, it is an illustrative tool used to show that Four would do anything for her, but I grow tired of it. It would be nice to have a woman that doesn't need rescuing, even if it is just in YA fiction.

The verdict is that this is an amazing book, with no hints at a sophomore slump. I anxiously wait for the the third book in the series, and believe that Roth is just getting started!


A reading list to keep up with the times...

During my last two years of medical school, I was completing my clinical rotation in Pensacola, Florida, while my family and my boyfriend lived in Tampa and Orlando, respectively. I must have put thousands of miles on my car, using up hundreds of dollars in gas money, and countless hours traveling back and forth to spend time with the people who are important to me. 

Please make no mistake: I hated the 7+ hour drive and the mental gymnastics required to keep up with the change from Central to Eastern time, but I dutifully drove down at least once, sometimes even twice a month, assuming my rotation allowed. The vast (and boring) rolling hills of I-10 and I became like old friends. Likewise, I memorized the small cities and townships I passed, and became familiar with the rest stops that dotted my journey.  

Two things made this drive bearable: loud obnoxious music and audiobooks.

My iTunes has my loud obnoxious music covered, but audiobooks are the jam.

I am a big fan of a website called It works like a subscription (about $15) a month, usually with free deals for newbies, and you get tokens for new audiobooks each month (which usually run for about $25+). It makes "reading" books such a pleasure, considering that they have kept up with both the Apple and Android app market and now the audiobooks have an excellent platform from which to run.

 Here is my most current reading list:

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent by Veronica Roth
I love reading young adult books. At the wake of mega series like Twilight and the Hunger Games, I find myself identifying with female heroines who are both strong-willed, and capable of fending for themselves. The heroine in this novel, Divergent, is no different.

This book is about a young girl named Tris who lives in a dystopian Chicago where society is organized in five factions: Abignation, Dauntless, Amity, Erudite, and Candor. In this society, each person is organized within a particular personality trait. Individuals are born into a faction however, once they turn the age of 16, they participate in an aptitude test and based on those results, are required to choose a faction to show their allegiance to. Tris and her aptitude test go awry and thus begins the interesting plot twists. It is revealed that Tris is actually Divergent, meaning her aptitude test did not reveal a linear or clear cut result. 

Without revealing too much of the plot, Tris makes a decision that surprises even herself. She gets caught up in a world very different than her own, breaking lifelong habits and moral code, but eventually finds a faction where she really feels like she belongs. Her Divergence makes her a target, so this is something she must not reveal. She also finds herself intrigued by a boy (obviously) named Four, her instructor. Just as she passes her initiation tasks, proving herself in this faction indeed, she gets caught in a conflict even larger than she could ever imagine. 

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