Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The following review has been pieced together from a conversation about Insurgent on Goodreads. I figured that since all the words were mine, I could do with them what I would.


I'm having hard time putting a finger on why Tris and this book aren't as good (although they are good) as the first book.

I think it's hard to write a trilogy going into to it knowing that you are going to write a trilogy. You know there are things that you aren't going to reveal until the end and you know that these things have to be alluded to in some faction for your audience to buy it. You're main characters (in this case I'm including only Tris and Dour) have to also change in some fashion from book one to three. And, that change has to be warranted...this has got to be hard to do especially if you are writing in first person.

I don't really want to like Tris...I understood her behaviors incredibly well in the first book and her pouty petulance, defiance and all out rudeness made sense in the context of her life, her relationships and her factions. I bought it all. In this book Tris changes and I'm not sure that we can use her age as a defense , however, since 16 year olds make life changing decisions all of the time and while sophomores are different than seniors, they can still reason and think and listen and are on the path to adulthood. 

I do not like when a positive role-model (especially one for girls, as there are so few) seems to change her stripes and becomes, in fact, like all the other girls in all the other books that have girls as heroes. Can girls only be heroes if they cry/have ill-tempers/make stupid decisions? It would seem that the literary world seems to thinks so. I would even add Hermione Granger into this mix as she couldn't just be defiant she had to be, at times, downright mean and a 5-letter word...you know which one. I hear that Evie in Paranormalcychanges for the not so good, Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen inTwilight and The Hunger Games, respectively are not girls I see as having virtues and they only gain virtues by finding or loving boys--argh; even girl leads as far back as The Chronicles of Narnia are not girls I want my daughter to emulate in any fashion. Frankly, as I go through these types of books in my mind Forgive My Fins and other mermaid books, The Girl in the Steel Corset (don't even get me started on Wither) et cetera...the girls all seem to exhibit the same traits of whininess, weakness and neediness that are suppose to make them strong.

I don't know what I want to see in a heroine, a YA heroine in particular, I thought that Tris was getting there. I am afraid that she took a few steps backward in this book, which brings me to the point about trilogies...perhaps Tris just needs some room to grow, perhaps as a Divergent she needs to act and think and truly be selfless, maybe book two was all about acting as she learned the hard way that acting without thinking or truly being selfless does not work.  All I could think about while Tris was being so reckless and going into danger when everyone was telling her not to was Bella Swan and her recklessness...the fact that I could connect them (even if for a little bit, as i know the characters are truly different) irritates me.

I am still undecided about Tris. I don't think anyone would question her goals or motivations, although they do seem to contradict in terms of being selfish and selfless (or are they just both at the same time?). She doesn't make me want to punch her in the face, I'm pretty sure I don't want to be her friend. She just isn't what she was in book one. I don't like her at all in this book, even if she does question shooting Will and other of her actions that have not yielded positive results, I liked her loads in the first book when her actions and motivations seemed a little clearer. I'll see about the third.

4 Stars   
The thing is, I did enjoy this book loads. It was easy, fast and fun and it has me thinking, all good signs, especially from so young a writer.  Maybe Veronica Roth is being consistent with her characters and plots and we don't know it because there's a whole book to go. I'm willing to give Tris the opportunity to become the YA heroine I've been dreaming of. 

Teacher Advisories 
Sex 3.5-4/5
There are some really steamy kisses ...hands under shirt, lying down type kisses
Language 1/5
If there's any at all it's few and far between and in the heat of the moment.
Substance Abuses 2/5
Only because there's the initiation process and a truth serum and simulation...not really sure all of this should count, but...some people may not like it.
Violence 5/5
Um, there are fight scenes, a war is beginning. Tris and Four have a verbal fight. Actually, a lot of people and Tris have verbal fights. People get knocked out and murdered. A boy is shot point-blank. A girl gets shot and bleeds to death. A leader of one of the factions is assassinated and her body is put on display.

Touchy Subjects
War is Hell
If Dystopic novels don't tell us this, than what are they good for, however when you lose your parents and your brother is a traitor and your friends are dying that point may be a little hard to handle.
See what that looks like if you are smart or brave or honest or caring or selfless...it comes in every package.
Tris has to live with the fact that she killed Will. She tells no one until she is forced to do so.
Being True to Yourself
Even if others doubt you, even if you doubt yourself.
At some point Tris and Four seem to be no good for one another...it's good for kids to see that relationships need work and sometimes you have to fight to keep them and sometimes you have to let go.

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option
2] Book Club read


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