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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

‘Allegiant’ Could Shock Fans Of Best-Selling ‘Divergent’ Books

Veronica Roth is author of the "Divergent" trilogy. (Nelson Fitch)

Veronica Roth is author of the “Divergent” trilogy. (Nelson Fitch)

Here's Robin Young's advanced copy of "Allegiant." To ensure no pages were leaked, her name was printed on each page! (Robin Young/Twitter)

Here’s Robin Young’s advanced copy of “Allegiant.” To ensure no pages were leaked, her name was printed on each page! (Robin Young/Twitter)

Today, “Allegiant,” the third book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling “Divergent” trilogy, hits e-readers and book stands.

The young adult (YA) novels are set in a dystopian future in which society has been divided into factions based on personality types. The book’s heroine doesn’t fit within that society’s limitations.

The third book explores how the society came to be and features an ending that fans have already heard will be shocking. But as Veronica Roth told Here & Now’s Robin Young, she had the ending planned from the very first book.

“I was sure of it from the very beginning, what would do justice to these characters and this story, and I feel very strongly that this is the best possible ending for this book,” Roth said. “And I’m extremely happy with it — even though I know it will be alarming, maybe.”

Book Excerpt: ‘Allegiant’





In the young adult book world, 25-year-old Veronica Roth is one of the youngest and hottest authors. In her "Divergent" trilogy, which is sort of like "The Hunger Games" set in Chicago, the fate of a society rests on the shoulders of a 16-year-old girl who, like all 16-year-olds, must choose to join a faction, even if that means leaving her family behind.

Veronica says she came up with the first faction, the Dauntless, when she learned in a psychology class at Northwestern University in Chicago about exposure therapy, people overcoming fears by confronting them. The Dauntless constantly confront their fears and prize bravery above all. But then Veronica created other factions, and what began as a Utopia becomes dystopia as the factions turned against each other.

A film starring Shailene Woodley is set for release in March, and the last book in the trilogy, "Allegiant," comes out today. What will happen to Tris, our 16-year-old heroine? Veronica Roth joins us from the NPR Studios in New York. And, Veronica, how did you come up with the other factions? There are four more, right?

VERONICA ROTH: Yes. I mostly just asked myself the question: Which virtues would I choose to make these groups revolve around if I were the god of this Utopian universe?

YOUNG: So you have the one faction called Candor, those who are honest, Abnegation, those who are selfless - we mentioned Dauntless - Amity, they favor peace above all, Erudite, they prize intelligence. Children who reach the age of 16 have to choose one?

ROTH: Yes.

YOUNG: Where did that come from?

ROTH: I don't know what high school is like for everyone else. But for me, when I was 16, I really did feel like I had to choose the rest of my life because everyone was putting a lot of pressure on all of us to figure out, you know, where we wanted to go to school next or what we wanted to do if we weren't going to school. It was sort of like the decision-making age was shifted back to an age when I really didn't feel like I knew myself all that well. It seemed natural to me to reflect that experience in these books.

YOUNG: And what are you saying about the fact that this is a young woman who does not want to be in the selfless group with her family of birth but chooses the Dauntless who are brave? There's a lot to be said for selflessness. You know, you are living to help others. But that's something that women are often asked to do.

ROTH: Right. I actually tried to write "Divergent" four years before I succeeded in finishing it. But I wrote it from Tobias' perspective. He's our main man.


YOUNG: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

ROTH: And it didn't work. I got 30 pages into the story, and it felt very expected, a little bit boring. But four years later, when I picked it up again and decided to revamp it and see what I can make of it, it occurred to me that it was far more interesting to see a young woman leave this atmosphere where, you're right, she's encouraged to be selfless, which is something that all women, I think, are encouraged to do, to choose something dangerous and bold and crazy for herself. Turning those gender role expectations around was extremely interesting and made the story far more fascinating to me as the writer.

YOUNG: Well, and by the way, we know that men can be selfless as well. But how much did Chicago inspire either the framework of the story, this factionalized society or the terrain? What were some of your inspiration?

ROTH: When I wrote the first draft, the book was not set in any particular location. But as I revise, I realized that it would really benefit from a distinct sense of place and the added reality that that would give the world that Tris lives in. And when I looked at the story I had written, there were these, you know, constantly moving elevated trains and this like marshy used to be a lake place and these rivers running through it, and I realized that I had written Chicago without really realizing it.

So I think it was the trains that really played the biggest role from Chicago in the story because they're almost like a creature. They move constantly, and it's not entirely clear who is driving them. And that really appealed to me because that's been my experience on the L in Chicago.

YOUNG: What do you think it says that young people like yourself and the ones that are devouring your books are so obsessed with this sort of end-times, this dystopian, "Hunger Games," "Divergent" society? What does that mean?

ROTH: I think that's the time when you start to discover that the world is not as pretty and shiny as it seemed when you were a child. So dystopian and futuristic books seem like a way of acknowledging the difficulties that teenagers are encountering, or at least noticing that they exist.

I don't remember who I know who said it, but it was like high school is the ultimate dystopia. I don't know very many people who remember high school with total fondness. And, you know, there's reasons for that.


YOUNG: Well, you alluded to that. I was wondering, is there - was there - I mean, as much as you want to tell, was there something for you, some kind of light bulb - some moment where, oh, the world is what I thought it was, and it - you went down this rabbit hole or...

ROTH: Yeah. I think for me, it was when I was able to see and acknowledge that my parents weren't perfect. It's like a huge coming of age moment. And particularly with one of my parents, a lot of things came to light when I was a teenager that were shocking and required me to admit to myself that even the people who are supposed to love you best and love you the most have secrets and have a whole other life outside of you that is not always rosy.

YOUNG: Well, I don't want to pry, but is it something you can share? Is it...

ROTH: I don't think that would be very kind to the parent that I'm referring to, but...

YOUNG: OK. All right. No. That's - yeah. Mm-hmm. But it was - it obviously set you on this path.

Well, the last book in your trilogy - we often sign nondisclosure agreements to get books ahead of time, but I - we've just never seen this extensive guarding of a book. There's - my name in huge print is on every single page, so I can - there's no way I can copy it or hand it out to anyone. They've done this so that they can trace anything that might be released.

We're not going to - at all - give away the ending of this book, but how closely did you want to guard what happened?

ROTH: I did want to keep it secret for as long as humanly possible, simply because I wanted people to experience the story for themselves and not just be told what happens because I think the process of reading the book is a lot different - it feels a lot different than if you were just told a summary of it.

YOUNG: I tweeted out to many of your different online fan bases, you know, do you have questions for Veronica Roth? And one that came back from one of your fan sites, Divergent Life, they wrote and said: We heard there was a shocking ending. Can you tell us why you did that? As much as you want to, why did you choose that?

ROTH: I, from the very first book, had this ending planned, if I was fortunate enough to write the other two.

YOUNG: Really? You always knew.

ROTH: I knew...

YOUNG: You always knew.

ROTH: Yeah. I knew it was the way it had to go. And someday, I'll talk about the way that this is set up in each book. But I was sure of it from the very beginning, what would do justice to these characters and to this story, and I feel very strongly that this is the best possible ending for this book. And I'm extremely happy with it, even though I know it will be alarming, maybe.

YOUNG: Are you sad to leave this world behind?

ROTH: I am sad. In the middle of writing the book, I was sure I wasn't going to be sad because I was just like, OK, this thing just needs to get done. But now that the day has come, it's very bittersweet. I mean, I'm happy to let go of these secrets and for everyone to know how this story ends, but the series has been special to me. It's changed huge parts of my life. And I have a deep affection for these characters and - I don't know. It's going to be a little - I'm going to have to mope a little bit after this.

YOUNG: Yeah. Well, we can't wait to see what you do next. Veronica, thanks so much.

ROTH: Thank you.

YOUNG: And Veronica Roth's "Allegiant," the final book in her "Divergent" trilogy, is out today, which is why a lot of young adults were a little bleary-eyed and maybe teary-eyed. To read an excerpt, go to hereandnow.org.

And by the way, Jeremy, this music was written by one of the millions of "Divergent" fans, Sam Cushion. He just wrote his own score.


For the book.

YOUNG: For the book.

HOBSON: Wow. They love their "Divergent."

YOUNG: They do. And the real "Divergent" movie due out in March. From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Robin Young.

HOBSON: I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • fangirl

    I know that this wasn’t NPR’s intention, but you just got Veronica Roth to accidentally give away the ending on the show today. There are only so many ways to interpret “shocking” and “alarming” with a book’s ending, and only one that makes sense. I still look forward to reading the book, though. Just thought that it was funny given that you were talking about how tight lipped she’s been about the story all this time.

    • Rachel

      She didn’t give the ending away at all? Many things could have been surprising, regardless of the ending she wrote

  • Mary Mary

    Well I officially hate Veronica Roth she may sell millions of Allegiant but she has lost a fan in me and by other comments I read many others feel the same way, BETRAYED! Personally I wish I would not have read it or invested my time in the entire series. Shame on you Veronica Roth!

    • Sassafras

      I actually respect her MORE as an author, having just finished the book a half hour ago, because she made the choice she did.

      • Mary Mary

        Your in the minority right now could change as more people read it and post about it.

        • Kace

          What’s the point in stating out that she is a minority? so what?

      • courtney

        I agree. I just finished it as well, and respect her and her decision to end it that way. it was a bold move, but it was a thought out and well executed move.

    • http://iamawesomenerd.tumblr.com/ Ratri

      can u tell me why do u so upset with her? is it because of Allegiant? well, i have to wait ’til next year for the translated edition.

    • http://iamawesomenerd.tumblr.com/ Ratri

      can u tell me why do u so upset with her? is it because of Allegiant? well, i have to wait ’til next year for the translated edition.

    • Rayns

      I feel the same way as Sassafras. Half way through I figured out what was going to happen and was shocked but the closer I got to the end the more worried I got that she wouldn’t do it. Because it was right. She stayed true to the story and so many readers now don’t get that with writing.

    • Jennifer

      It’s people like you that annoy me. It’s her story and she should be able to end it however she likes. What kind of fan are you if you’re just going to hate on her because she didn’t end the story the way you wanted her to? And honestly, because you’re such a feeble fan, I don’t think losing you would hurt her in the long run.

  • Mari

    i read the whole book! so well written. it is shocking, the ending, i wont write any feelings down because many havnt read it yet. Its so … no words!

  • Jacqueline Roberts

    This was the worst ending to a book ever. It makes me not even want to see the movie because now I am just going to think about how sad it all ends. What in the world was she thinking. It ruined the whole series and I want the hours I spent on this book back.What garbage. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    • madison

      It’s not the worst ending ever, but yea, I don’t want to see the movie anymore because of how sad it is that tris dies

  • Rae Roman
  • Miss

    I didn’t like the ending at all, it didn’t feel necessary killing Tris.. there are more ways to convey the message of sacrifice than to just let the main character sacrifice herself. Knowing how many people died over the course of the books, even if Tris and Tobias had their own well-deserved HEA ending, the ending as a whole would not necessarily be happy. There were many other things I didn’t like about this book, but I’m not going to go into extreme detail. One thing I will point out though is, why was David in the room, waiting for Tris (even with a readied gun), believing very well that she would not have been able to survive that death serum exposure? He shouldn’t have been worried about her reaching the room, he “knew” that she was going to die if she went in there.. so why would he have been in there waiting for her? He also seemed genuinely surprised to see her make it through, which showed that he did not expect her to be alive after going through that room.. furthur supporting my point. All in all, I think that this pretty much ruined the series for me, it felt so incomplete and rushed, and stuffed with unnecessary plot points.. nowhere near the quality of the first two books.

  • leej

    Now I’m getting scared other writers follow what Ms. Roth did, thinking it is okay. With Champion by Marie Lu coming out soon, I’d be surprised if both protagonists live in this one.

  • Carla

    I read the whole book and loved the other two books but how could they end it like that. The other to books where about tris’s survival how could they kill her off? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole series? This ending was a shocking and extremely disappointing ending to a great book series.

  • Jennifer

    Allegiant was amazing, Veronica. Sad as heck, but still a great book. Just know that REAL FANS won’t leave your side just because you didn’t end the book the way they wanted you to, real fans respect you for your ability to make your own judgmental.

  • Allie

    I loved the ending! I thought it made it more realistic and I’ve been getting kind of sick of the main character always making it because its so predictable. It still had a happy ending in a way and overall I really really enjoyed it! Thank you Veronica Roth!!

  • Guest

    I have no problem with the character’s fate, but the book was poorly written, had so many loose ends and was badly conceived from a logical standpoint. Too bad.

  • Tris

    I am sad about the ending of Allegiant but I am still a fan of Roth. My mom says that you know she is a good writer because I had such a strong connection with the characters that when tris died I cried so so so much. Hope this helps others fans with their feelings about allegiant. Still crying though.

  • banananaa


  • alvinchimp

    Why do people all hate this book I saw all the comments on how horrible this book was and I read it thinking oh man this is gonna be the worst book of the whole series
    but it was not that bad I actually enjoyed it
    Glad i read it do not be discouraged

    • tris forever

      I loved these series with out these books I feel like a hole is in my chest and to all those people out there who hate the ending u didn’t write the book and u didn’t put the money and time into this series as Veronica did I loved the ending it was the best ending the book could have and no comments can change my mind don’t hate the book just go find a another book to read and stop posting bad reports on an awesome book series ever

  • Grace

    I don’t necessarily hate Veronica Roth but I was a little dissapointed in Allegiant. The entire series depressed me. I loved all of the characters from the start, especially will and Caleb. When tris killed will, it was a huge blow, but I still respected tris. When her parents died, I was sad, but I kept reading. When Caleb betrayed her, I almost died. When tris and Tobias fought, I didn’t really know what to do. When Uriah died, I cried. When Peter erased his memory, I started to wonder if reading Allegiant was worth all te sadness. When tris died, I was finished. It’s hard being a fangirl, thanks to Roth. :/

  • Nick

    I read the book in… two days, I was so excited, but before I got my hands on it one of my friends LOOKED UP THE ENDING AND TOLD ME. I was really upset and I don’t think that it was nearly as good knowing what happened, but there were a few quotes in the book that just deserved to be slowly clapped.
    My only problem with the whole book was the fact that in every single Tobias POV chapter Marcus came up and his beatings as a kid. I know that it was like an important part of his character but it came to be too much at times. It was like in the pervious book I felt like Tris spent the whole time moaning about Will, I know she felt bad for killing him but still, it began to be a little too much for me.
    Anyways, quality book and I really enjoyed it:)))

  • Bethany

    This ending really surprised me. When I first bought “Divergent”, it took me 2 days to read it. I was so fascinated and interested in it. After I finished it, I immediately went out and bought the last two installments, “Insurgent” and “Alliegant”. I was so eager to see how it all ended that I read “Insurgent” in less than two days. Then I started reading “Alliegant”. I knew from the beginning of the book that it wasn’t going to end well. I really am disappointed in it… Roth claims this was the only way to end the book, but I don’t quite understand why she came to this conclusion. As the death serum started to surround Tris, she was so determined to stay alive. She told herself that she was not done yet. She still wanted to live. So why kill her off? It honestly does not make any sense. It’s bad enough to kill off the main character, but the fact that it really leaves no one left for Tobias. He wants nothing to do with his dad, and he really could have cared less for his mom. Tris was the only thing Tobias was certain about. He doubted himself all the time, but he never doubted his feelings for Tris. Right before he left to go back into the city, they both could already picture what their lives would be like when he returned. Their lives were supposed to be perfect from the moment he came back…This ending really didn’t do any justice to her story at all. Tobias kept mentioning how strong Tris was. I think that if Roth could have thought just a little bit longer on this ending, she could have proved how tough Tris actually was. For her to go through everything she did for the ones she loved, then die, that doesn’t show how strong she is. Roth already made Tobias sound like he was so damaged, that he was unstable, so it didn’t feel right to kill the one person he ever really loved. I still can’t believe this is how it ended. Because of Roth’s amazing writing skills, I really did get attached to Tris. I was in class, reading the very end of the book, and I had just got to the part where Tris entered the Weapons Lab. From that point I already knew she wasn’t going to survive. When Tris saw her mother approaching her, my heart broke and dropped down to my stomach. I tried so hard to fight the tears off, but I couldn’t. The epilogue was bitter sweet. But as for the over all ending, I’m really disappointed. And I’m sure others feel the same way as I do.

    • Bethany

      Don’t get me wrong, I still love Veronica and her amazing writing skills that captivate you, I’m just not too happy with the ending. But I can’t wait until the movie comes out in March!

  • tris forever

    I think more people need to read this book when I first read this book I fell in love with it and I had to wait for the last two books to come out and I was lost without these books I love these books and Veronica I love u more for putting ur time and money I to these books and for making them the beat books of all times won’t even let my brothers touch them cause I’m afraid that they will ruin the book and I have read the first book like 7 times now and the last two books like 4 times now and I don’t like have of the posts that people post because they r all mean and saying how much they hate the ending well let me tell u something the ending was perfect I loved it I never thought that would end like that and I’m excited to see the new book u r writing I am so excited

  • tris forever

    Loved the book

  • madison

    Guys I’m going to be 11 in November, and I’m reading the second book and the third book has some, you know what contact in it, so do u think I should read it? I’m only ten you know… PLZ reply

  • madison

    K guys my thing is messed up so I’m 10 and I wounded if it’s inappropriate no reply just reply

  • madison

    No don’t comment just reply sorry guys

  • Jessy

    Hate,how it end! How could she do that to Tris. I HATE BOOK 3! ÷(

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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