The story centers around Beatrice Prior, she exists in post apocalyptic Chicago. Her society has been split into different sections that each work to better society. She is part of the Abnegation society, they believe that by being utterly selfless and unconcerned with vanity that the word would be a better place. When we meet Beatrice she is on the verge of her choosing ceremony, this is the point in each child of each society reaches the point where they can choose what part of society they want to be a part of. She is about to do her aptitude test to show what her strengths are in order to help her with her decision. The problem is instead of showing an aptitude for one particular aptitude but in fact shows three, Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless, her test results are wiped and manually entered because the person doing the test did not want to report her. Beatrice decides to go against her society and decides she will become a part of the Dauntless Society, they are your military society. From that point we are on a whirlwind adventure of Beatrice, now known as just Tris, learns what it means to be accepted in the Dauntless society, meets her love interest and trainer Four, yes his name is a number, and has to hide her divergent side. This book is an edge of your seat thriller, I love the descriptions describing the town and watching Tris battle with what she is versus who she has to pretend to be. I found it interesting that the society feared those who became proficient in multiple skills, because in Tris case her Euridite aptitude (intelligence) allowed her to think past her fears and overcome obstacles, while her Abnegation (selflessness) aptitude put others safety before her own, in our world making her the perfect military personnel. It just goes to show what people don’t understand they fear. Please read and let me know what you think.
There has been several key defining moments in my life that caused me to seriously consider my role in this world we live in, 9/11, Columbine, and now Sandy Hook. All of these events in my life have made me question whether as humans we have lost our humanity. We now have parents killing children and children killing parents. On the news yesterday a teenager drugged her parents so that she could play on the internet longer than her curfew allowed. We are raising our children to believe that they have the right to have anything they want. My parents were not raised having everything, often times my grandparents would do without so that they would have food to eat, just getting a pair of shoes was a big deal because it was considered a luxury in the summer and a necessity in the winter. On the news I hear children whining that they cannot have the latest Michael Jordan shoes or the fastest tablet, they are so concerned with having things they have left their humanity behind. So we have gone from fearing terrorist to fearing that if our children do not get exactly what they want or if we make a decision that they do not like will they drug us or worse decide that the world has done them some irreparable harm and take it out on others with no concern about the lives they are irrevocably damaging. I tell my daughter every day that life is not what you are given but it is about what you do with what you are given. My daughter is six, blonde hair, blue eyes, and by all accounts will be tall and slim, she believes she is a princess, I tell her everyday that she is as beautiful inside as she is outside. I tell her a true princess puts others in front of herself and gets joy from giving. I hope that I can inbed in her mind the importance of believing in yourself and that it is more important to leave a legacy of goodness than a legacy based on looks and who you hang out with. I hope that she will see that the latest tablet or the most stylish clothes does not define who she is but what really matters is how she is when no one is around because what fills your thoughts will eventually define your life. I pray that perhaps these wake up calls we are given are a chance to start turning our lives around and to realize that in order for you to care about the world you live in, you must be out in the world, you have to see it for what it is, look beyond your neighborhood, your town or city, even your state or region and see what is truly happening in the world and realize that it does matter what is happening out there and yes, one person can change the world, for better or worse.
First of all, I love books that have a total different view on topics people have written about over and over. Sarah Fine takes us into the deep topic of suicide and how easily even the people closest to us miss the turmoil in our lives. Her story starts off with a sentence I love “On my first day at Warwick High School, if you’d told me I would choose to go to hell for any of the students, let alone Warwick’s queen bee, I would have laughed”. This story takes you in from the beginning and doesn’t let you go. Lela Santos is our heroine and she is kick ass. I always have believed what you go through in life prepares you for what you have to do later on. For Lela, she has already gone through the hell of the foster system and juvie, teaching her to be tough and protect herself. WHen she meets Nadia and saves her from a potential assault, we see her start to open herself up to the possibility that she does not have to be defined by her past and can choose to be a better person. Nadia on the other hand has lived an enchanted life by Lela’s standards, wealthy and privileged but the problem is Nadia is deeply depressed and worn out from projecting a happy persona to all the people around her, so she decides to end it all with a bottle of pills. This book is not for people who want to idolize the afterlife. Nadia does not show up in suicide hell wanting to turn her life around, the same insecurities and thoughts that plagued her in life are continuing to destroy her in death. Lela has to come to terms with the fact that you cannot force someone to care or to change, that has to come from within. I absolutely love Malachi, he is someone that you would want as a friend, someone who deeply cares about people, even those who do not care about themselves. The author describes the suicide city so vividly I could picture it in my mind in full color. Please understand this book is not for the faint of heart, it is not religious and does not pretend to be. The characters are well written and you can identify with each of them. Lela is amazing as the heroine, sometimes I found myself cringing at some of the decisions she makes but at the same time I find myself wondering what I would have done in that situation. I highly recommend the book, it causes you to look at yourself and those around you with new eyes and to remember that no one is what they seem. It is action packed and takes you on a rollercoaster ride. THis book is part of a series and I can’t wait to read more of Malachi and Lela’s journey.