Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2011. The novel is the first of the Divergent trilogy, a series of young adult dystopian novels set in the Divergent Universe. The novel Divergent features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five factions, which removes the threat of anyone exercising independent will and re-threatening the population’s safety. Underlying the action and dystopian focused main plot is a romantic subplot between Tris and one of her instructors in the Dauntless faction, nicknamed Four.
The novel has been compared to other young adult books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner because of its similar themes and target audience. In particular, the novel explores the themes common to young adult fiction, such as adult authority and the transition from childhood to maturity, as well as such broader motifs as the place of violence and social structures within a post-apocalyptic society. Its major plot device, the division of society into personality types, is one used in other science fiction works. Beyond its literary context, Roth’s open declaration of her religion as a Christian has brought commentary from Christian communities both endorsing and challenging the novel.
Roth wrote Divergent while working on a Creative Writing degree at Northwestern University, and it was quickly purchased for publication alongside the subsequent books in the trilogy (completed in October 2013). Summit Entertainment purchased the media rights to the book in 2011 and subsequently produced a film adaptation titled Divergent which was released March 21, 2014. The film, a success amongst audiences, generated $288,747,895 at the box office despite mixed reviews from critics.