I see a lot of people giving this book extremely negative reviews for being a "ripoff" of Hunger Games, or other novels.
After having read it myself, I have to say, those reviewers are insane. Its about as much of a "ripoff" of the Hunger Games as the Hunger Games is a ripoff of Lord of the Flies, or Battle Royal. Meaning, its only a "ripoff" if you haven't actually sat down and took the time to read each one with a critical eye and make the comparisons.
That being said, I loved this book. Maybe its having come fresh out of reading City of Bones, which was a monumental disappointment, but Divergent felt like a breath of fresh air in terms of Young Adult novels. "Info-dumping" is a word I hadn't known about until reading City of Bones. Where CoB was a figurative dumptruck of upfront information, Divergent has little to no info-dumping, meaning the reader has more of an opportunity to work things out for themselves.
The romance blew my mind. Not because it was so juicy and sexy and a whirlwind of steamy scenes to get a teenage girl's heart (and other bits) all a quiver, but because it wasn't any of that. It wasn't the main driving point of the plot, it was a bit subtle, very sweet, and probably one of the most healthy examples of teen romance I've read in a long time. For once, the heroine doesn't go for the jerky, emotionless twatwaffle that doesn't treat her right. While Four does have a few instances where he seems to be rough with her, those instances are few and far between, and usually born out of necessity. It very quickly becomes obvious that everything he does is to protect her, in a very genuine way, even if she doesn't understand at first.
Four is a surprisingly deep character, and my favorite part about him is the way Roth starts off with that strong, stoic character and totally rips it apart by giving him some very realistic fears and weaknesses.
Speaking of weakness, that's my favorite part about the main character, Tris, as well. She's weak. She's FLAWED. She's extremely flawed. She's not the perfect Mary Sue character Twilight has made the norm. I felt like Tris had a personality all her own, whereas reading some other YA novels you get that "insert-self-here" vibe.
Divergent is certainly no piece of classic literature, but its many awards, recommendations, and its place as one of the most popular Teen novels of the year is WELL deserved. Sure, it shares similarities with other popular novels that came before it, like The Hunger Games. But while it might share one specific theme with something, Roth takes that theme, runs with it, and creates a completely different piece that is memorable and enjoyable, and completely separate from anything else in its genre.