I’m putting together a Divergent movie release party at the library, and I always like to make a booklist in conjunction with big programs (for example, I made this Choose Your Own Apocalypse guide for our Teen Read program). While Divergent is still popular at the library and there is a lot of buzz leading up to the movie release, a lot of readers are so over dystopian and post-apocalyptic YA. I thought a nice way to tie a wide variety of books to Divergent would be to make reading lists by faction. I tried to find books that were not circulating as much as I thought they should, older hidden gems, and a few brand new releases and personal favorites. There’s a nice mix of realistic, fantasy, sci-fi, and historical. I’m also trying to make sure I include diverse books in every display or booklist, not just ones specifically designed for that purpose, so there should be a fair amount of often under-represented books present. Hopefully everyone can find something they’ll like on this list!
I’ve scheduled one guide and the accompanying mini-book talk blurbs to go up in a blog post on the library website each week leading up to the movie release, but I thought I’d put it all in one place for other readers or librarians.
Something Like Hope – Shawn Goodman
Shavonne has been in a juvenile detention facility since 7th grade. Despite her difficult life, she saves the life of a mentally unstable roommate and defends those weaker than herself. With the help of a counselor, Shavonne begins to hope for a better life. Members of the Abnegation faction would appreciate this moving story about how we can help others.
Vessel – Sarah Beth Durst
Liyana has always known that in order for her tribe to continue to survive in the harsh desert, she must give her body over to become a vessel for their goddess, Bayla. She has selflessly accepted her fate, but though she performs the rituals, the goddess does not come and her people abandon her. She then embarks on a quest to find not only her missing goddess, but the kidnapped gods of other tribes as well. This unique fantasy will delight and inspire the self-sacrificing abnegation.
Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler
Jude’s idea of an exciting summer after high school graduation didn’t include taking care of her father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease, but she selflessly sees that he is safe and tried to help him hold onto his memories by restoring his motorcycle he rode around Argentina in the happy days of his youth.
Scarlet – AC Gaughen
This re-imagining of the Robin Hood tale still stays true to the calling of the band of thieves in the original. Abnegation might not approve of their tactics, but would certainly sympathize with the motivations for “robbing from the rich to feed the poor.”
Burn – Heath Gibson
William Tucker is a good guy–he gets good grades, has a part-time job, and is even a volunteer firefighter, but he still doesn’t live up to his father’s expectations. Members of the Amity faction will relate to his aspirations and find his struggles compelling.
Juvie – Steve Watkins
When Sadie accepts the blame for a crime she didn’t commit to keep her older sister out of jail, she learns about self-sacrifice and that “maybe not being guilty wasn’t the same as being innocent.”
Crossing Stones – Helen Frost
This novel in verse follows several teens during WWII, where some experience war firsthand and others fight for peace and women’s suffrage, causes that Amity members would surely support.
Sorta Like a Rock Star – Matthew Quick
This is the story of Amber Appleton, who is relentlessly friendly and optimistic, even though she lives in a yellow school bus with her mom. If she lived in the world of Divergent, she’d definitely choose the Amity faction.
All You Get Is Me – Yvonne Prinz
Aurora lives on an organic farm and advocates for the rights of migrant workers — she’d surely fit in with other Amity members.
Peaches – Jodi Lynn Anderson
This story about three girls who spend the summer on a Georgia peach farm and the power of true friendship captures the true Amity spirit.
Resistance – Carla Jablonski
This graphic novel is about taking a stand against the atrocities of war, and the themes will resonate with members of Amity.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green
If any faction is going to start writing musicals, it will be Amity. This story alternates viewpoints between two boys with the same name who accidentally meet and end up having their lives play out on stage in a musical written by their mutual friend, Tiny Cooper.
All the Truth That’s In Me – Julie Berry
Judith disappears from her village, then returns, unable to speak about what happened to her during the last few years. When her community is attacked, she must recover her voice so she can tell her neighbors the truth.
The Sin-Eater’s Confession – Ilsa J. Bick
This novel is a confessional letter written by a military medic who is telling the story of what really happened to a odd and artistic friend who was the victim of a hate crime. The reader will have to determine how truthful Ben’s confession is.
I, Witness – Norah McClintock
In this graphic novel, Boone witnesses a murder and fears for his own life if he turns the killers over to the police. Will be be brave enough to tell the truth?
Liar – Justine Larbalestier
Micah is a compulsive liar who becomes a suspect in the murder of her boyfriend and finally has to start telling the truth.
Chanda’s Secrets – Allan Stratton
This Printz honor winning book set in Southern Africa where people are dying of aids is all about the harmful nature of secrets the the power of the truth.
The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
Marcy is spending the summer silently grieving the loss of her father when she meets a boy she can finally tell the truth about how she feels.
Sabriel – Garth Nix
Sabriel is trained in magic as a necromancer and has to journey into the world of the undead to save her father. We’re not even sure every member of Dauntless would be able to face the dangers she encounters along the way.
Bruised – Sarah Skilton
This novel about teen martial artist Imogen explores the intersection of physical strength and emotional strength. She feels guilty when she witnesses a robbery and does nothing to stop it and struggles to know when to fight. This realistic novel explores the question of what it truly means to be “strong.”
Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
Tally lives in a world where everyone has an operation at 16 to turn them “pretty.” Just as Tris discovers something sinister in her world, Tally finds out there’s more to being pretty than meets the eye, and she must also find the courage to fight against those who seek to control.
Never Fall Down – Patricia McCormick
Arn’s life is forever changed when soldiers enter his Cambodian town separate him from his family and force him into a labor camp. It takes amazing courage and bravery to survive in a war-torn country and become an agent of peace after being forced into a soldier’s life.
Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
This story of a pilot and a spy during World War II is all about true bravery, and true friendship.
Divided We Fall – Trent Reedy
Dan, a soldier, accidentally fires a shot that starts a second civil war in America in the not too distant future. Many in Dauntless will relate to how easily their actions can have ripple effects that have lasting implications. As Dan says: “Once blood is spilled, we’re stuck in the fight for the long haul. If we work out a compromise, then what was the point of all those casualties?”
Origin – Jessica Khoury
Pia grew up in a secret lab in the rain forest because she was created by scientists to be the start of an immortal race. Doesn’t that sound like something the Erudite would try to do?
Deadly – Julie Chibbaro
This book is about epidemiology at beginning of a 20th century, when a seemingly healthy woman infects many people with deadly Typhoid fever and is based on a true story.
Magisterium – Jeff Hirsch
Glenn lives in a world where a fence separates her home from a land full of the unknown, but Glenn isn’t interested in the rumors of magical monsters and witches rumored to exist on the other side of the divide. Glenn’s been happy to devote her time to her studies and dream of escaping the research station where her father works, until he’s arrested and she’s on the run with nowhere to go except into the unknown. This book is for any Erudite members who appreciate science and technology, but still believe there is magic in the world.
Genius Squad – Catherine Jinks
Genius doesn’t necessarily make someone evil, but we can see some members of the Erudite faction starting the Evil Genius school that is the setting for this humorous series.
Slated – Teri Terry
Kyla has had her memory wiped because she was allegedly difficult…this procedure, known as “slating” is something Erudite would come up with.
Smart Girls Get What They Want – Sarah Strohmeyer
The title of this contemporary novel is basically the Erudite motto.