Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm Finally DIVERGENT!

DivergentI may be the last person in the world to read Divergent, but I finally did!  And, I LOVED it!  I was so enthralled by it that I read it in one day and now I can't wait to read the next book.  Veronica Roth has created a believable, entertaining, intriguing world with characters that I like and hate as needed.  For those of you that might have missed the fanfare of Divergent, here is the summary from Amazon:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Seriously, you need to read this book.  I am going to recommend it to all of my friends, family, and students.  I liked that Tris is a strong, independent character with intelligence, humor, and a few misgivings.  She isn't perfect, but she is very likable.  Four (the male protagonist) is great and I can't wait to learn more about him and understand his quirks.  Since there are a bazillion raving reviews for Divergent, I will keep mine short.  This is a great book and you need to read it TODAY.

I give Divergent 5 out of 5 stars.  

Since I read Divergent so quickly, I needed another book to entertain me when I couldn't sleep.  Surgery recovery is going well but I wake up in pain and can't sleep.  It's getting better, but I'm ready for the pain to be gone!  Anyway, I picked up Lori Wilde's The Welcome Home Garden Club next.  Wilde is a New York Times bestselling author, but this is my first novel to read of hers.  Since I'm a Texan, I was excited to find a novel based in Texas that sounded light and fun without a lot of cheese.  

The Welcome Home Garden Club: A Twilight, Texas Novel (Twilight, Texas Novels)
Summary from Amazon:  Traditional meaning of Pink and White Roses: I love you still and always will.
Caitlyn Marsh stopped believing in happily-ever-after when high-school sweetheart, Gideon Garza, left for Iraq. Now she raises her small son while her matchmaking gardening club members drive her crazy. Then Caitlyn's world turns upside-down when Gideon swaggers back to Twilight.
Gideon had left town in the middle of night with threats ringing in his ears. A lot of things have changed since then. This bad boy-turned-Green Beret bears scars from the war, the timid girl he loved is an independent mother, and the father who refused to recognize his son in life has, in death, left him a vast cattle ranch.
He still aches for Caitlyn, and now there's a dark-haired boy who looks exactly like Gideon did at that age. Could the child be his? And can this war-weary soldier overcome the scars of the past to claim the family he so richly deserves?

While this book does seem delightful, it did not keep my attention.  Perhaps it was because I had just read the intriguing, fast paced Divergent.  I needed the story to move a bit faster.  Wilde tells us quite often that Caitlyn is still hot for Gideon and he still wants her.  We are told often that Gideon is not the same person now and is too damaged to love completely.  I understand that the war changed Gideon, but why won't he let himself try?  Why won't Caitlyn try?  The will he/will she conflict was frustrating to me.  Another conflict is Gideon's estranged family.  Gideon inherits great wealth and land, but his half-brothers want nothing to do with him and contest the will.  When the brothers threaten to kill Gideon and any of his heirs, I completely lost interest.  The conflict does not seem real - it's too much.  I was prepared for the love conflict, but I couldn't buy the life-or-death situation.  I did not finish the book, but I know that many of my friends would enjoy it.  I will try reading another of Wilde's novels.  The Welcome Home Garden Club just wasn't for me.

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