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Sixteen-year-old Tris Prior has survived the simulation attack from the rebels, but not without her share of scars, both external and internal. One of the worst parts was having to kill her friend, Will. She had no choice; it was either kill him or he would kill her. But she’s having trouble convincing herself of that truth, let alone admitting it to the others. The guilt eats away at her soul as she attempts to move forward in the race for freedom. The rebel leader, Jeanine, is determined to take control over all five factions, and she doesn’t care who dies in the process. In fact, she’s hunting down all of the Divergent citizens first.

"This second epic book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride that gnaws at the curiosity of human nature.... INSURGENT is very powerful and striking..."

Being a Divergent is the main reason Tris survived the simulation attack, but it also pinpoints her for destruction. If the rebels have any hope for control, they must first figure out how to control every Divergent citizen --- or just destroy them. So Jeanine uses blackmail to lure a Divergent in to figure out how their brain ticks, and Tris volunteers to be the Divergent guinea pig, without telling her boyfriend, Tobias. She knows he would never agree to her sacrifice. So Tris slips out unnoticed, surrendering herself to the rebel forces. Jeanine performs horrifying simulation experiments on Tris, trying to break through her resolve. And when she fails, Jeanine sentences Tris to die. Of course, Tobias isn’t going to let that happen.

It’s hard to know who to trust in their society. Half of the Dauntless faction turned traitor to support Jeanine and the Erudite faction. The Amity faction prefers to stay neutral, Candor just wants the truth (whatever that is), and a big part of the Abnegation faction was killed in the attack. And then there are the factionless citizens, the forgotten ones thrown away and left to survive on the crumbs of society. They’ve decided they aren’t to be ignored anymore and have begun to make plans of their own. Then, in the midst of all the invasions, espionage and trying to stay alive, Tris uncovers some deep, dark secrets about their society: shocking secrets that will change everything.

This second epic book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride that gnaws at the curiosity of human nature. The author’s use of symbolism strikes hard and fast as the five factions (plus the factionless residents) interact, nurse prejudices, hold judgments, practice intolerance, and neglect ignorance just like groups of people in different races or religions have in our past and present societies. Roth uses first-person present tense to grab a hold of the storms brewing in Tris’ soul as she struggles with love and anger, guilt and regret, self-loathing, and standing on the very edge of giving up. The tension of a looming war keeps the pages turning, as does the brewing relationship between Tris and Tobias. The complex characters provide many unexpected twists and turns, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will live and who will die.

INSURGENT is very powerful and striking, and the words printed on the back cover are a wonderful example: “ONE CHOICE: a choice becomes a sacrifice, a sacrifice becomes a loss, a loss becomes a burden, a burden becomes a battle…one choice can destroy you.” Fans eagerly will be awaiting the conclusion to this exciting trilogy.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on June 1, 2012

by Veronica Roth