This month the YA Book Club, hosted by Tracey Neithercott, read Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I am a huge dystopian YA fan, so while many may think dystopian is over or is a saturated market or genre, I’m all for it! Last year about this same time my friend Katy Upperman recommended Divergent to me after my Hunger Games and Chaos Walking series hangovers. 🙂 Thanks, Katy!
Much like my The Fault in Our Stars book club post, I don’t totally know how to write about this book without coming off as a fangirl. There are spoilers riddled throughout this post, so read no further if you don’t want spoilers!
I couldn’t wait to read this book. I’d intended to buy a hard copy the day it was released but didn’t make that happen. A day or two later I just downloaded it to my Kindle because I could.not.wait. And, the great thing about having it electronically is that I can annotate and highlight and not damage the pretty pages. 🙂 Divergent and Insurgent are on my list as books I will invest in on my next trip to Powells, where they’ll likely still have hardcovers for both. I adore these books that much that I’ll pay for them twice! Small disclaimer: I read the book a month ago and am relying on my notes for talking points. Also, page numbers are according to my Kindle (I don’t think they’re the same as the actual book).
I’m not going to lie, a lot of what’s compelled me with this story is reading about Tris and Tobias. I want them to fall madly in love and I want there to be a better resolution to their relationship than what Suzanne Collins left me with after Mockingjay. Their chemistry was lacking in this installment, which was appropriate to the story with the action and dissonance between the factions. I missed their truly warm moments and when I felt that there was a bright future ahead. I think Tobias/Four is at the top of my list of YA boys that I LOVE. Is that weird? It doesn’t matter, because I’m okay with it. He is smart and complex and believes in this woman in his life and can BREAK YOU if he needs to. 🙂
Around page 96 when Tris and Four meet Evelyn I commented on how I love that Roth has sprinkled many powerful women throughout the series so far. This includes Tris, Christina, Tori, the crazy lady who’s leading the Erudite and Johanna, who is leading the Amity.
“They each have an equal role in government; they each feel equally responsible. And it makes them care; it makes them kind. I think that’s beautiful” (Roth 20). Like Susan and Tobias (who made the previous comment), I really like the peaceful demeanor of the Amity and the assumption that everything would work out all right while they were with the Amity. No doubt I am Amity myself, so although I believe that there’s a little of every faction that is great (and I wish I could be Dauntless or Divergent!) I thought that Tris could have been making her comment “And I can’t help but marvel at Susan’s assumption that whatever they were doing was wonderful…” about me.
I was excited to read about how Tris and Caleb work together as siblings. After seeing a teaser on Facebook, I saw that they interact more and I was excited about it. I have a brother that’s very close in age to me and I was thinking Caleb and Tris would team up and conquer the world. In fact, when that wasn’t happening I wrote I wonder if Roth has siblings. (She does; two older siblings. The beauty of Twitter!) I suppose this is what’s great about Roth’s writing. She builds a fantastic world where these factions are the be all-end all, and where siblings can work against each other. I loved this interaction between the two: “‘Be careful, though.’ ‘Aren’t I always?’ ‘No, I think the word for how you usually are is ‘reckless’ ” (118).
Other favorite quotes:
–> “Sometimes I feel like I am collecting the lessons each faction has to teach me, and storing them in my mind like a guidebook for moving through the world. There is always something to learn, always something that is important to understand” (269).
–> “I think we cry to release the animal parts of us without losing our humanity. Because inside me is a beast that snarls, and growls, and strains toward freedom, toward Tobias, and above all, toward life. And as hard as I try, I cannot kill it” (341).
–> “Anyway. You don’t have to forgive her, but you should try to understand that what she did was not out malice; it was out of panic” (233).
–> And perhaps a wonderful piece of foreshadowing and an example of why the society is about to crumble: “‘Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like'” (518).
Overall, I liked the book equally or a smidge less than Divergent and can’t wait until fall 2013 (it won’t be May, we know that). I am bummed the third book is going to take longer, but I am always grateful for an author who takes more time to make it right. 🙂 I think the world-building is always thorough and detailed (I love!) and I think that the characters are still growing–we’re still getting to know them–even in a second book. And I love that.
What post of mine isn’t complete without a Simini Blocker drawing? She uses Photoshop to create these illustrations, which I find even more amazing about her talent! This was her interpretation of Tris after Divergent: