FICTION

Insurgent

Bk. 2. 526p. (Divergent Series). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202404-6; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-211445-7.
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Gr 9 Up—Insurgent continues Roth's dystopian cycle that began with Divergent (HarperCollins, 2011), and the beginning of the story will be confusing to those who have not read the previous book. As the novel opens, the protagonists are undergoing interrogation via truth serum, thus revealing the major events only sketchily alluded to before. This backstory keeps readers disengaged for too long. Roth's saga has at its center the division of humanity into factions based on their performance on aptitude tests. (These factions are Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite.) Originally intended as a benign method of governing, the separation into classes has devolved to the dominance by the Erudites. The members of each faction undergo "Simulations"—gaming during which the participants lose their free will and become killing machines. Tris is a Divergent, meaning that she has aptitude for more than one faction, and is immune to the simulation mind control. She and her teacher, Tobias, join with a group of people called the "Factionless," who form the nucleus of the revolt. Insurgent explores several critical themes, including the importance of family and the crippling power of grief at its loss. One of the novel's finest tropes describes this loss as "teetering on the edge of grief's mouth." A very good read, despite its difficulties.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
After uncovering a plot that shatters their "faction"-based society, Tris and Tobias are on the run. Now their survival depends on choosing whom to trust and discovering why one faction plotted against the others. While remaining action-packed and gritty, the meatier portion of this sequel to Divergent focuses on the psychological trauma caused by violence and loss.

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