Divergent by Veronica Roth

ImageThis is quite an exciting book, somewhat along the lines of The Hunger Games.  This society, in a future Chicago, is made up of factions.  Decades before their ancestors had decided that humans were selfish and corrupt so people formed factions, each against what they thought were soceiey’s biggest ills.  Abnegation, the original home of heroine Tris, is selfless; they run the government because they won’t succumb to corruption.  Erudite is made up of intellectuals and they are the researchers. Dauntless are the brave and they protect society, Amity is friendly and they provide the caretakers and counselors for society.  There is also Candor who “provide trustworthy and sound leaders of law.”  

When young people turn 17(??), they must pick a faction and then go through an initiation.   Tris decides to leave her faction and become a Dauntlesss.  She had always admired their bravery when she watched them jumping onto trains and off of buildings.  The initiation is brutal, but as she learns she is really a Divergent, not wholly belonging to one faction, she finds out how dangerous that is, especially with power hungry people like Eric running the show.  Things have changed since the factions were first initiated and there are people that want to discredit Abnegation and Tris’ father.  

Tris is well developed as a character though most of the other are not fleshed out very much. This is a plot driven novel with nonstop action making it a book that  you don’t want to put down.  You do get the idea that the movie is already in sight. There are some inconsistencies.  Having gone to school with student from other factions, tris seemed to know next to nothing about the Dauntless.  Also in chapter 25 Tris gets a copy of Erudite reports.  There is no mention of how she did this.

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Pinned by Sharon Flake

Autumn and Adonis are complete opposites but they’re alike in some ways.  Adonis is brilliant, he gets all A’s and is polite, quiet,the head of the chess club and the wrestling team manager.  Adonis is in a wheelchair because he was born without legs below his knees, but that doesn’t keep him back.

Autumn is a brilliant wrestler,she can strategize in a second on the mat.  She’s a good friend and a great cook but she can’t do school.  She can’t read and she’s behind in everything else too.  Autumn also loves Adonis and follows, stalk is his word, him everywhere.  He can’t stand her, but for some reason he keeps dreaming about her.  As annoying as she is, she gets under his skin.

Told in alternate voices, this is a very personal view of two teens whose ways of speaking as well are very different, but who find there is something that draws them to each other.  Pinned will be released on Oct. 1 by Scholastic.  It’s a great book for girls who are into sports as well as for reluctant readers.

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

Becca King has been left on her own at the ferry stop to go to Whidbey Island to live with a friend of her mother Laurel.    Leaving her mother she  said, ”  “You’ll come back,” …     “I will,” Laurel promised. “As soon as I can.” But will she?  Becca, not her real name, has psychic abilities that force her to hear whispers.  Her stepfather used her to listen in on his clients so that he could milk them but when she figured out that he had committed a crime he knew that she knew.  Becca and her mother had to flee San Diego.

On the ferry Becca sees a young man with whom she clicks, but he’s sitting in a patrol car and she is very wary of the police.  Arriving on the island, Becca learns that her mother’s dear friend has died and now has nowhere to stay.  She is afraid but does find a place with a woman who has her own secret and tragic history,  Everyone on the island seems to have a secret.

The mystery begins when Derric, the boy from the ferry and now a classmate, falls in Saratoga Woods, breaking his leg and going into a coma.  Derric Nyombe Matheson a Ugandan orphan who was adopted by the town sheriff, is popular and had been friendly to her on the first day of school, but he is surrounded by others like Jenna who doesn’t want Becca to talk to him.  He also has enemies, boys who trip him in school and Becca’s friend who helped her find a place to live. Becca is sure she can help him.

The island with its deep, mysterious woods, its farms and small towns comes to life as the mystery unravels.  Friendships are built and developed and old wounds are repaired, but with the surprise ending it emerges that this will be a series.  I’m pleased as I found the book hard to put down.  it’s not a thriller with a rush, but a mystery set among complex characters in a  closed and mystical landscape.  George’s writing is fluid and captivating.

The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George will be released on September 4, 2012