Thursday, May 31, 2012

YA Book Club is hosted by Tracey Neithercott at Words on Paper. Thanks for bring us all together, Tracey!

This month we're discussing Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy. It's difficult to discuss a sequel without giving away the secrets of the first book, but I'm going to try. Here is an adapted Goodreads summary that avoids major spoilers:

War looms as conflict between the factions grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence to survive, no matter what the cost.

Things I love about Insurgent:

1. It picks up right where Divergent leaves off.
This works so much better that picking up a few weeks or months later. When an author skips ahead, she inevitably uses flashbacks to the time that was missed. Roth doesn't do that, keeping the writing and flow clean. Instead of easing readers back into the story, Roth sucks us back in with the snap of a finger.

2. The break-neck pace refuses to be put down.
I read so many tweets about people forcing themselves to slow down, to savor Insurgent for as long as possible. Not me. I love being so absorbed in a story that everything else falls away, and Roth maintains the same intensity all the way through. The only downside is waiting over a year for Book 3, which until further notice shall be known as Detergent.

3. Tris and Tobias have a real relationship.
One of Insurgent's major themes is the role of secrets and trust in relationships. I dig a great love story just as much as the next girl, but I'm tired of the old standby that THIS ONE SPECIAL LOVE can withstand anything, and can never be undone. Real people have problems. Real people have insecurities. Real people make mistakes that are hard to forgive. These things don't weaken the power of love; they prove how amazing it is, that it survives anyway. Tris and Tobias react to their situation and keep secrets in a way that feels authentic to me. It's the same quality that attracts readers to Katniss in The Hunger Games, only Tris is more relatable. She carries the burden of guilt and expectations the same way that I might, in her situation.

I loved Insurgent. I realized flipping through Goodreads the other day that my ratings tend to skew high, which isn't really fair to the true 5 star books. A second book in a trilogy is a difficult monster, but I truly feel that Roth knocked it out of the park.

Insurgent is everything I hoped it would be.

Music for today: Hysteria by Muse


  1. I agree that picking up the story without a lot of DIVERGENT refreshers was a great choice. While it took me a while to remember all the characters and the details of DIVERGENT's conclusion, it really helped the flow and pace.
    Hooray for realistic relationships, even in dystopias!

    1. My point of comparison was City of Lost Souls, the 5th book in CC's series. She does a lot of refreshers with little flashbacks in the beginning, and in contrast, Insurgent just flowed so smoothly. I felt like Roth trusted the reader to put it all back together.

  2. As much as I hated the bickering between Tris and Four, I think you're right about it giving their relationship a realistic feel. And, like you say, if their relationship can withstand all of the low points, it proves just how strong it is. I just really had a hard time with Tris lying to Four and sneaking around behind his back. That's hard to admire in a character. I suppose that creates conflict and an actual story, though.

    1. When I was reading, I would think, "Tris, that's a bad idea. Don't lie to Four, he'll understand." But I understood why she made that choice-- I liked her more because I understood her more, even if I did't think she was making the right choices.

  3. Can I just say "ditto" to your entire third point. I loved their changing relationship in this book, and it all felt so natural to the story and realistic.