It’s another one of those dystopian, YA, chicks-rule, first love, impossible choices books.
But oh, it’s a good one.
Beatrice lives in future Chicago, which has been split into five factions, based on the most valued trait of that community. Beatrice grew up in Abnegation, where the residents are selfless above all else. Then there’s Candor (the honest ones), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the smarties), and finally, Dauntless (the courageous). But she and her brother are now sixteen and time has come for them to choose their future. At this stage in everyone’s lives they undergo a ceremony during which they choose what community they want to belong to. This choice cannot be taken lightly, because from this point on, they must commit to “faction before blood.” If Beatrice chooses anything other than Abnegation, she will never be able to go home again. And Beatrice knows that selflessness is not her strong point.
This isn’t giving much of a summary, I realize, but part of the pleasure of reading this, is that there’s a possible spoiler in just about every chapter. Gotta love that.
A lot of reviewers have compared this one to Hunger Games, and I too can see a lot of similarities, the most significant of which is the INTENSE NEED TO KEEP READING. I really couldn’t put this down. I also loved the references to Chicago landmarks (the Bean, the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, the building that “used to be called the Sears Tower”), allowing me to track her journeys across the city.
This is such a hot genre right now, and there are plenty for teens to choose from. But this will be one of the top dystopian novels that I’ll recommend, both for it’s interesting new ideas and its exciting plot twists.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this for days afterward. I haven’t returned it to the library yet, just to keep in around.