After having an okay but exhausting week, followed by a pretty sucky night of sleep on Friday, I wanted to do absolutely nothing today. Nothing except get lost in a damn good book. Thankfully, Divergent by Vernoica Roth did just that for me. This isn’t just a book review. It’s also a word about books in general, and how glad I am to be a freakish bookworm. I obsess over books. Their characters always stay with me longer than the book’s end (especially when done right), and it’s just a good feeling to get away from things for once. I love getting invested in a completely different world and characters that are flawed and creative and messy. Books are beautiful things.
At the end of this particular book, I literally felt breathless. I looked at my roommates and said, “I feel like I just ran a marathon!” And not because I started reading the book this morning. But everything that happened, everything that was built up, just came out in the last few chapters and I felt like I was off and running with the characters in the chaos. This book, like many others, provided a great reprieve from a stress-filled week. While I spent the day reading and not doing much else, I’m entirely okay with that. I think it was a much-needed break that helped me blow off steam by not thinking about my problems today. I’m very much a proponent of knowing when to take a break, if your mind or body (or both) needs it. So I spent my day reading, and it was totally worth it.
I’d been hearing and reading about Divergent for a few months now, and had left it on my Kindle wish list for a while before finally giving in this morning. I’m so glad I did. Veronica Roth is freakishly talented (and apparently, only a year older than me. PRO!) She has built a divided world full of tension and political struggles that are highlighted by a young girl’s confusion and desire to find her true place in a divided society. The five “factions” are well-described, and the people we meet from each both fit into and yet defy the social conventions set by their factions. But Roth excels at showing the differences between these people and the protagonist, Tris. The other thing I love is that the boy, Tris’ love interest (easiest way to describe him), is also well-developed. He is complex, and yes, mysterious, but not in an annoying way. He has a past that has truly shaped who he is, and his story is quite sad. But I love the chemistry and camaraderie that develops between these two. For me, the side love story can make or break a book, if not done correctly. Thankfully, it’s done well here, and contributes to the overall plot really nicely. The last thing I want to say is, it’s never over. This book had me screaming in the last few pages; the build-up to this crazy last few chapters was really well-done. And it was easy to see how things, once set in motion, seriously screwed up the norm. It was also an excellent way to set up the next book, Insurgent (coming out in MAY 2012 HOORAY!). I really look forward to seeing these characters again, and how they deal with new challenges.
I love reading fantastic books like this, because they keep me satisfied for a while (and keep me from going *click* on Amazon and buying more books). Especially after having read Even more so, the characters create vivid images in my head that tend to continue for a while after the book is over. Since I have to wait for the sequel, my mind sort of goes on a tangent about what might happen.
Another book that had a similar effect on me was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (yep, another YA. I love the genre). That one does not have a sequel (please don’t do it) because it ends so beautifully and perfectly…I can’t even. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better ending. That book, by far, is one of my favorites ever. That book also had wonderfully drawn characters that stayed with me for a while – I didn’t want to read any books for a while after that one. I was just extremely content with reading pieces of that book all over again (especially now that I knew the ending and could breathe again). Divergent had a similar effect on me. I feel like I can attack my work tomorrow, since I gave myself today to get lost for a little while.
Thank goodness for all these wonderful imaginations out there. Without them and the brave authors who actually write down these wonderful thoughts, we’d have nothing. My worn-out brain really appreciates good books. It’s literally food for thought, if the food was always chocolate and ice cream. 😉