I have been corrected – there is no love triangle. 10 points for Griffindor!
I mentioned that publishing houses and movie studios are snorting up Young Adult Dystopian Fiction like Lindsay Lohan at an all-you-can-blow cocaine buffet.
And now Summit Entertainment – the tween-gasm peddlers of both Twilight & Hunger Games - is seeking a triple sweep by announcing the release date of a film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent.
The film is set in a futuristic, dystopian Chicago where society has been divided into five factions based on virtue – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). At the age of 16 all teenagers must choose which virtue they want to dedicate their lives to and the protagonist, Beatrice Prior, must decide if she wants to stay with her family or with the boy she’s fallen in love with.
The book is the first of a planned trilogy with the second book, Insurgent, having come out this past May selling 1.5 million copies.
I have never heard of Veronica Roth or Divergent, but I would also be the first in line for a Farenheit 451 book-burning of Young Adult Fiction, so my lack of knowledge doesn’t come as a surprise.
Apparently, Veronica Roth is only 25 years-old; I give her a virtual high-five for writing her way all the way to the bank. Because if you tell me that she “never wanted to become rich or famous”, you can throw yourself atop the aforementioned burning pyre.
And that’s where my kudos end because it is blatantly obvious that Divergent is a Hunger Games clone. Not that Veronica Roth purposely did so – she very well may have had the idea ever since she was a tadpole – but the similarities are a little difficult to ignore.
- Separate factions that specialize in a certain industry
- These factions were created to prevent war after it was war that destroyed most of America
- The factions are altogether excommunicated from one another
- A teenage girl with a cute little nickname – ‘Tris’
- Entered into a faction where she is militarily trained and given a makeover
- Has a “true love”
and “another boy” love triangle
- Limited world-building and explanation
Those are just a few examples worth a few minutes of searching the internet, but again, you can almost see how the story will begin and end; my money is on an uprising of factions or some type of “factionless” and then rainbows and flowers explode from the sky as ‘Tris’ ascends into the sky like a YA Jesus.
It makes me wonder if Divergent, and those of its faction (get it?!), are enjoying commercial success due to the wake created by The Hunger Games.
There is no doubt that literary agents and publishing houses are scooping up as many YA Dystopian novels as their “bring out yer dead” wagon will carry, but are readers engaging in the same type of behavior? Walking down the YA aisle and blindly knocking books into their shopping carts? Searching for anything that quietly, or bombastically, resembles The Hunger Games.?
Again, I have nothing but fist-pumps for Veronica Roth, but I find it fascinating that readers will continue to clamber for genre books that are, a lot of the times, nothing more than tweaked versions of previous entries.
The old adage “it’s not what story you tell, but how you tell it” couldn’t be anymore true in this situation.