This series captivated me. I loved the series and the exhilarating pace and constant action and thoughts about humanity. It is another dystopian novel in which the society has tried to put people into neat little boxes, which we all know don't fit real people. On a large scale, these books explore what makes us human as well as how much leaders and people with power can manipulate our perceptions based on the information we are fed.
The first two books follow Tris as she discovers herself, the meaning of strength and love through all kinds of tests, violence and tribulations as she makes her way through her city, which takes place in the ruins of Chicago. Initially it is about survival and fitting in and then she learns she is different. The serums that the leaders use to control the population don't work properly on her and she discovers she is Divergent. Divergent people are frowned upon and she must hide it if she is to remain alive. Through the support of her trainer and her friends, she manages to survive and eventually flourish. Her trainer, Four, sees strength in her she never new was possible and she sees his heart hidden behind all of his tough exterior. They fall passionately in love, creating the scenes that are inappropriate for younger audiences. Their passion is, at times, raw and fairly sensual and when she has to face her fears, one of hers is the depth of this love and it's not appropriate.
The last book breaks the trend a bit, as it point of view is through two perspectives, Tris and Four as they manage to escape the walls of the city and discover the larger picture. Again the book is about leadership and strength and what makes evil and human and Tris and Four try to save their old world and find a home in their new world. There were moments the words captured human struggles so clearly, it took my breath away.
Grades 7 or 8 (depending on the student) and up