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Monday, October 28, 2013

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Allegiant: YA's Biggest Controversy

Last week I read and posted a review of Veronica Roth's Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy. I talked about a major spoiler in the book, but I didn't discuss the biggest spoiler of them all: the ending. Even though I debated doing it, I decided to leave some mystery and surprise for everyone who hadn't read it yet. 

But after seeing the internet's response to Roth's unexpected ending, as well as receiving a rather nasty comment from someone who I can only assume is a grieving fan, I decided to revisit the review and talk about how I felt about that big, gigantic, shocking ending that has taken YA by storm.

This will be a complete and total SPOILER post. Don't continue if you don't want to know.

I'll just go right out and tell you, near the end of the book, Tris dies. Yes that's right, the main female character in a YA novel straight up dies. She sacrifices herself to save the world, and instead of letting her scrape by with serious injuries and a prolonged hospital stay, Roth lets her die a hero. The rest of the book is told completely from Tobias's devastated and grieving perspective. It's painful and completely unexpected. But once you think about it, it really is inevitable.

YA genre wise, yes killing the main character is pretty unheard of, and some fans have reacted in a rather outraged way especially on twitter and review websites such as Goodreads. 

But story wise, her death makes sense. It's cyclical and inevitable. In Divergent Tris's parents die so that she can live. And throughout Insurgent Tris struggles with figuring out why they had to die. Why they chose to do that. She struggles with sacrificing herself and truly understanding when it's sacrifice or suicide. By the time Allegiant starts, she has learned that sacrifice is from love and suicide is from guilt. And when faced with letting her brother run a suicide mission out of guilt, she knows that it cannot end that way. She must sacrifice herself out of love, and because she knows that, she is the only one who can have any chance of completing the mission.

Earlier today, Veronica Roth released a blog post that delves more deeply into her decision to let Tris finally have rest. It's very interesting, and I highly suggest you give it a read. Here's the link: VERONICA ROTH BLOG POST

But not only do I support Roth in her decision because it makes sense plot wise, I'm also glad she did it because of what it does for the the YA genre. 
YA is not a very respected genre. It's angsty, a little annoying, and every book is the same. Yes, I'm generalizing big time, but that's the way most of the people of the world who aren't reading these types of books see it. There's a girl, there's a guy, there's a problem, they kiss a lot, run a lot, and then there's a happily ever after.
But not so for Tris Prior. She had to die, and she did. Divergent breaks away from the all-too-familiar formula and gives its YA readers an actually critically sound ending. Yes, it's going to hurt, and you're going to cry, but you're going to get a chance to have a book in this genre that makes you think, that makes you feel something other than warm fuzzies at the end. This is a good thing.

And before anyone raises arms against me for being such an insensitive reader, I too was very shocked when Tris actually died. I definitely thought, "No. No. Nope. She can't do that. Uh-uh no."  And yes, there may have been a few tears.
But after doing some deep thinking, I know that it had to happen this way for the story and for the world. 

Veronica, you go girl.


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