Roth, Veronica (2011). Divergent. New York: HarperCollins.
Plot Description: In a future Chicago where people are divided into factions that honor each honor different virtues: truth, service to others, friendship, knowledge and courage. Beatrice has never truly felt like she belonged in her faction. Then her aptitude test reveals the reason. She is not like the others. She does not fit nicely into one faction. She has traits of multiple factions. She is something dangerous: Divergent. Beatrice is told not to let anyone know her results. She chooses to be brave and join the fearless faction of Dauntless. Once there she becomes Tris and faces a grueling initiation process, where only the strong survive. Along the way Tris makes enemies, as well as befriending other initiates and forming a special bond with her mysterious instructor, Four. However, initiation is not the only perilous thing she must face. Tris learns some of the faction leaders are hunting the Divergent and have sinister plans for the members of both her old and new factions.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: HL700L, ATOS Book Level: 4.8, Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 16
Qualitative Reading Analysis: Includes subplots, time shifts and complex characters. Explores themes of varying levels of complexity and abstractions. There is distance between the reader’s experiences and those in the text. Experiences are unfamiliar, as they take place in a future world, but some themes and issues will be familiar, such as fitting in, finding your place, family loyalty, individuality, struggle, etc. However, most students will hopefully not have experience fighting for survival. Register is casual and familiar. Vocabulary is rarely overly academic or strange to the reader. Unfamiliar concepts and societal structures of the future world setting are explained to the narrator’s understanding of them. Sentence structure is mostly simple, compound and some complex construction. Narration is first person and reliable, but limited to the narrator’s knowledge and perspective. Genre is familiar and text is consistent with the rules of that genre. Organization also adheres to convention.
Content Area: English, Literature
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
English Language Arts Standards: Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Curriculum Suggestions: Have students take an online quiz to see which faction they have traits of and then explain which faction they would chose and why. Have students draw which tattoos they would have if they were in Dauntless. Students create their own faction in groups. Analyze characters’ personalities and behaviors and why you think they make the choices they do, based on what we know about them from reading the book. Have students rewrite a scene from a different character’s point of view.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: SLJ Best Book, Publishers Weekly Best Book
Series: Book 1 of Divergent Series
Character names/descriptions: Beatrice (Tris) the narrator who learns she is different (Divergent) and must learn to use those differences to help her society, Tobias (Four) another Divergent who is Tris’ instructor and love interest, Eric an evil Dauntless leader, Jeannie Matthews is the Erudite leader with horrific plans to control the population, Will and Christina are Tris’ new friends, Peter is her enemy
High interest annotation: Tris learns why she has never felt like she fit in and now she must use the dangerous secret of her Divergence to save her society from destruction.