I just finished Divergent and think I read it in record time! I could NOT put it down. It was strange though; sometimes I wasn't even sure I liked the book - I just had to keep reading. It really caught me.
I will say this...Divergent is not for the faint of heart. It's in the dystopian genre and lots of my students that have read Hunger Games have enjoyed it, but the only way I can think of putting it is that Divergent is more sinister than the world in Hunger Games. Lots more fighting, suicides, and just crazy psycho-manipulation kinds of stuff. It was interesting to me, but I'd recommend it to more mature readers who are prepared for those types of things. There's also some discussion of sex, so I'd put this more as a mature 7th/8th grade book.
Anyway, the concept in Divergent is really cool. After a wave of wars, the people decide that there are several reasons for the breakdown of humanity. They then divide themselves into five "factions" based on what they think the error in society is. The factions are the Abnegation who believe that selfishness is to blame, the Dauntless who believe it was cowardice, the Amity who believe that peace will save the world, the Erudite who believe that a lack of knowledge lead to society's demise, and the Candor who believe that honesty will yield a productive, cohesive society.
At sixteen, every member of society chooses which faction they will live under, and begins the initiation rites for that particular faction. They can choose to stay within their family's faction or leave and go out on their own, but their decisions are based largely on an "aptitude test" which predicts which faction their personality is most aligned with. The main character, Beatrice, is deemed "Divergent" after her test, meaning that she has aptitudes for more than one of the factions. Beatrice knows this is rare, but as the novel progresses, she comes to find out just how dangerous her status truly is. To the people of her world, it's worth killing over.
This novel is packed with twists and turns and unexpected action/drama. If you like dystopian novels and are prepared for some rather grim material, I'd definitely tell you not to be overwhelmed by the length - it's almost 500 pages - and give it a shot! You won't be disappointed.
The next book in the trilogy, Insurgent, just came out...can't wait to get started on it.