8 Book Recommendations for Divergent Fans
by Tom Burns
Allegiant, the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, is receiving an honor previously reserved for the last volumes of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games — it’s being split into TWO movies. The first part, “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” premieres on March 18, while the second part, now titled “The Divergent Series: Ascendant,” will be hitting theatres in June 2017.
This tells me two things: First, Veronica Roth has a huge and passionate fan base of loyal readers; and second, you better start preparing your young Roth fan for their upcoming Divergent series withdrawal NOW. Because, even though Allegiant technically ended the trilogy in 2013, the popular movies have allowed Roth’s readers to hold onto Tris, Four, and all their favorite factions for just a little bit longer.
If you know a teenager who’s dreading the end of the Divergent movies (no judgment if you’re the fan in question) here are eight other excellent YA novels to dive into.
The 5th Wave
Strong female protagonist? Check. Post-apocalyptic setting? Check. Constantly shifting allegiances, romantic entanglements, and high stakes global drama? Check. Yancey’s tale of teenaged Cassie trying to rescue her brother from the insidious aftermath of an alien invasion is an ideal post-Allegiant read for teens (particularly since it’s the first of a series and had its own movie adaptation earlier this year).
In Divergent, when you turn 16, you get assigned a “faction.” In the thrilling sci-fi allegory world of Uglies, when you turn 16, you get massive plastic surgery to turn you from an “Ugly” into a “Pretty — and if you reject the procedure, you become a rebel and are hunted down by the government. Roth fans should enjoy Westerfield’s chilling take on appearance-based factions. (The follow-ups, Pretties, Specials, and Extras, are great too.)
This ingeniously constructed adventure introduces us to Kady, a normal girl in 2575 trying to navigate an intergalactic war, a space plague, and insane artificial intelligence. And, regrettably, she might need the help of her ex Ezra to survive. The first part of a trilogy, Illuminae tells its story in a wonderfully unique way: The whole narrative is revealed through a file of hacked documents like files, transcripts, emails, etc.
While the Divergent series gives us a look at post-apocalyptic Chicago, Ship Breaker shows us what life might look like on North America’s Gulf Coast after a massive ecological disaster. A young survivor named Nailer lives a hard life on the coast, rummaging through old, rusted ships to make a living — until he discovers a massive luxury ship which could either be the biggest score he’s ever found, or an introduction to a world of wealth and privilege he’s never known before. This fantastic stand-alone was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
In Divergent, Tris spent her entire young life waiting to be assigned a Faction, only to learn that almost everything she knew about the Faction system was a lie. Teenaged Quin from Seeker goes through a similar journey. She’s spent her whole life training to become a seeker, training her special abilities to protect the innocent, but she goes on the run when she finds out what seekers really do, rejecting her father’s legacy and hoping to learn the truth about her birthright. Bloody, exciting, heartbreaking fun.
Lockwood &. Co.: The Screaming Staircase
One reason why teens love the Divergent books is they show a world where teenagers are empowered or, at the very least, where a small group of teens have banded together to change the world. Stroud has created a similar vibe in his Lockwood & Co. books, a literary landscape where London is haunted by ghosts and only the young have the proper “sight” allowing them to see and combat the supernatural menace. Fans of Tris will adore Lockwood’s newest investigator, Lucy Carlyle.
Tiny Pretty Things
Not everyone reads the Divergent series for its science fiction and dystopian elements. There are many readers who don’t care about VR simulations or trains that never stop — they want to read about Tris and Four’s relationship. They want the romance, the betrayals, the emotions. If your teen is addicted to Divergent’s drama more than anything else, they may fall in love with Tiny Pretty Things, an emotionally high-octane tale of three young ballerinas who will do WHATEVER it takes to get into a prestigious Manhattan dance academy. (This fun read — the first in a series — gets extra points for having a wonderfully diverse cast of characters.)
Ready Player One
If your teen can’t get enough of Divergent’s panoramic thrills (whether on the page or the movie screen), they’ll geek out over Ready Player One, a gloriously nerdy adventure that Steven Spielberg is turning into his next movie. In a crumbling future where everyone spends most of their time in a virtual reality world called The OASIS, hardscrabble teen-geek Wade Watts just discovered the first in a legendary series of “easter eggs” hidden in the virtual world, which launches him into a life-or-death game for the ownership of the OASIS. Ideal for gamers, cosplayers, and Doctor Who fanatics.
Are you still mourning the end of the Divergent series? Have you found the perfect book to fill that Tris-shaped hole in your life? Let us know in the comments below.