I know that I am SO late to the Divergent party, but I just finished Book 1 in Veronica Roth's trilogy and I had a few thoughts about this book and the dystopian genre in general.
Everyone seems to have a theory as to why this type of story is so popular. I'm no literary scholar but I think stories where an imaginary future full of unsavory and unsettling realities have always been popular. I could be wrong, but I think it's human nature. We conjure storylines of bad times, especially when things are relatively good. I mean, we live in the most amazing time in all of human history and we flock to see and read about our species trying to deal with terrible times.
Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, and for good reason. It has that "feel." I would include The Giver in that group as well. Of course, all those stories center around teenagers, teenagers experiencing a major life event--many times called a "choosing," be it voluntary or involuntary. I find this interesting. As a teenager we all (or most of us, anyway...) face major questions concerning our future. What are we going to be when we grow up? What career will we take or which school will we attend? And if we don't go to school, how will we support ourselves?
In these dystopian stories, others choose for them and the consequences can mean the difference between life and death. In the books and movies these choices are pitched to guarantee the continuation of a utopian society, but just the opposite happens. Maybe in real life parents try to protect their children so much that when they're old enough to face the real evil that exists in our world, they'll be ready. But, sometimes we're never ready.
Divergent was good. I enjoyed it a lot, even though there's a lot of similar stuff out there. I can see why the book is so successful. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. A lot of people are dissing dystopia now, but for me, I enjoy the genre and no matter how much they talk about the demise of dystopia, I think it'll always be around.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13335037-divergent?from_search=true