This book feels like it fits so neatly into the standard successful YA tropes it could have been written by a marketing team. Young girl (16) has to go take a test that will tell her what faction she will belong to for the rest of her life. Will she choose the same as her parents, or abandon them forever and choose what really calls to her? Of course the test doesn’t tell her, it just warns her that she’s super special (divergent) and that is dangerous.
Beatrice was born in the abnegation faction, which is a lot like the Mennonites but not as frivolous. She’s interested in the dauntless faction, which is like a cross between a prison and a special forces training group but with less adult supervision. When she gets there, she learns that not everyone will be accepted, and she has to beat out half the others. They’re big on simulated realities there, and after the first round of testing (which is like fight club) the initiates are called upon to fight their fears in realistic holograms. Here, Trice is better than the others, which marks her as dangerous.
There’s a cute romance between Trice and their group teacher, Four, whom she develops a crush on almost instantaneously. There’s a decent amount of intrigue and danger. Trice has her life threatened several times, and hints of a danger threatening her larger society made me interested to read more.
The final scene, when everything falls apart and the master evil plan is revealed, is full of death and grief and mayhem. I felt that certain people died not because they needed to, but because the heroine needed her character tested. It’s formulaic, but formulas exist because they work, so I guess I’ll forgive it.