review by Tara McCleod, special to The City Wire
Tara McCleod replaced longtime Crawford County Library System director Eva White on Aug. 1. McCleod, who was previously the youth services librarian, has been with the library system for three years.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Harper Collins (2011)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Dutton Juvenile (2012)
VAN BUREN — With the success of young adult series such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, young adult literature is drawing in readers of all ages. There are a number of wonderful young adult books and series available. Two books worth looking into are Veronica Roth’s Divergent and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.
In her first novel Divergent (also the first novel in the trilogy of the same name), Veronica Roth introduces readers to a dystopian Chicago, where society is divided into five factions: Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the fearless), Erudite (the intelligent), and Abnegation (the selfless). People are born into one of the five factions; however, at the age of 16, they are given an aptitude test, which tells them which faction is the best fit for them. At a public ceremony, they must choose either to continue in the faction where they were raised or join the faction that best suits their personality and character.
However, pledging allegiance to a particular faction at the public ceremony does not mean instant acceptance into the new faction. In certain factions, membership is limited. Failing the rigorous initiation experience means spending the rest of life on the outer fringes of society as one of the “factionless,” the homeless outcasts who simply do not belong anywhere.
In the first book of the trilogy, Beatrice Prior learns that while she was raised in Abnegation, she displays abilities of three factions, which makes her altogether different, or divergent. Divergence is misunderstood and dangerous. As Beatrice competes for a position in the faction she ultimately chooses, she quickly learns that keeping her secret will prove more difficult than she ever imagined.
The book is incredibly fast-paced, and the story, while sometimes violent and bleak, draws the reader in. The main character, Beatrice (or Tris, as she’s later called) is interesting and her initiation events are thrilling. Tris’ instructor, Four, is also a fascinating character and is as mysterious to the reader as he is to Tris.
Fans of The Hunger Games should check out this trilogy.
The second book, Insurgent, was released in May 2012.
Award-winning author John Green’s latest release spent 30-plus weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children’s chapter books, including seven weeks at the top of the list. In addition to this novel, he has written four others, one of which won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and has co-written a young adult novel with author David Levithan.
The Fault in Our Stars shares the story of Hazel, a 16-year-old living with terminal cancer. In this short snippet of Hazel’s most likely short life, told by Hazel herself, we learn how her life is forever changed by a boy she meets at a doctor-mandated cancer support group. The boy, Augustus Waters, or Gus, is a fellow teen and cancer survivor who has decided not to deny himself “the simpler pleasures of existence.”
After they bond over a book written by a reclusive American author living in the Netherlands, Gus and Hazel set out to find the answers to questions the book raised, embarking on a relationship of friendship and love that is bigger than they are and bigger than the time they’ll have together.
As with all of Green's novels, the writing is smart, the characters are smarter, and you walk away feeling better that you were able to share a brief moment in time with them.
Fans of novels like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why should enjoy The Fault in Our Stars as well.