Insurgent – Veronica Roth

InsurgentReading level: 5.4
Series: Divergent series book 2
Genre: Dystopian, romance
ELL-Friendly: Yes
Library recommendation: Middle or high school

I don’t even…where to begin…this book…


In no other book have I wanted the couple to be together so badly as in Insurgent. The romance was perfectly written, I think. As much as I was frustrated when Tris and Tobias had fights and I was afraid that they would split up, I appreciate how realistic the situation was. I love how each Tris and Tobias value honesty and how frustrated they get at each other while loving each other the entire time. The pre-execution Tris is a perfect example of Toni Morrison’s quote in Song of Solomon, “He can’t value you more than you value yourself.” I didn’t really understand what Tobias meant when he said he and Tris would be through if she kept throwing her life away until I recalled this quote. Only when she realized her life was worth living did she and Tobias get back on the same page. Beautiful.

The downside to my being so obsessed with Tris and Tobias’ relationship is that I focused more on them than on what they were fighting against sometimes. What can I say, they stole my heart. Or maybe just Tobias…

At the end of Divergent, Tris shoots and kills her friend Will. She spends the entirety of Insurgent being haunted by her decision and action, despite Will having been under a simulation and the fact that he would have certainly killed Tris had she not killed him first. This situation is in direct contrast to that of Ender’s Game when Ender kills a whole slew of people (and buggers) but doesn’t really beat himself up too badly, and everybody excuses him. Tris makes no excuses and always holds herself accountable.

But then one may counter that Tobias is a killing machine. And he sort of is. He reminds me of Gale from The Hunger Games series, where he’s more radical in needing to do what is “necessary” to dispose of the societal evil. In case you haven’t guessed, I love the character of Tobias, minus his willingness to kill. He’s the right amount of perfect and flawed, scared and brave, loving and hard-skinned.

Reasons to keep this off classroom shelves include: too much violence and excessive kissing. I don’t think either was too extreme, but if parents have an issue with The Hunger Games series, they’ll have an issue with this series too, probably – which would be a real shame because it’s SO GOOD.

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