Divergent – Veronica Roth

Divergent is a novel from the american author Veronica Roth. It has been published in 2011 and it is part of the literary genre of dystopia. This book is the first of a successful trilogy. We are in a post-apocalyptic city, formerly Chicago. Here is the story of the book :

Beatrice Prior, called Tris, is the main character of this novel. She lived in a society divided into 5 factions, according to the predominant personality trait of the people. There is Abnegation made up of people who devote themselves entirely to others. These people dress in grey, have the bare minimum at home and don’t look at themselves in the mirror because it’s considered superfluous, you don’t have to worry about how you look. These people must always remain humble and modest ; so they make up the government society. Plus, there is Amity made up of people who  live together in harmony and who favour peace and joy ; these people are involved in agriculture. There is also Candor : people can’t lie and always say whatever they think. They are honest (sometimes too much) ; so they take care of the society’s justice system. Plus, there is Erudite with the smartest people. They are researchers, scientists who deal with the medical field. Finally, we have Dauntless, with courageous and fearless people. They take care of the security of the city.

Tris is 16 years old and it’s at this age that she must choose the faction in which she wants to belong until the end of her life. Children generally choose the faction they grew up in and very few change factions. These changes, called transfers, are accompanied by a change of neighborhood and a break with the family of origin. Before that, she and everyone her age took a test to find out which faction would suit them best. However, Tris test is different from the others ; the test is inconclusive, it corresponds to several factions. Tris is divergent and it’s a secret that she must absolutely hide. Except that in this totalitarian society, not to fit into a box is to sign one’s death warrant.

Tris makes the most unexpected choice at the Choosing Ceremony, contrary to all the teaching she has received from her family. However, this choice is that of her heart but that’s the worst when we are divergent. Indeed, being « factionless », that is to say being a recluse from society, is not what she should fear. She must fear execution.  Destiny will bring her up to the mysterious Four, the coach of her group of newcomers, a man broken by life with hard airs.

This book denounces totalitarian governments and the repercussions on the inhabitants. Indeed, we put people into factions that are based on just one trait of their personality when we are not defined by that alone. People who do not fit into a faction are simply eliminated as dangerous. It is simply revolting for the reader whe he sees how society accepts its fate and allows itself to be manipulated by the government, which is entirely corrupt. This book also shows us that being different is not a fault, on the contrary it is a very honorable quality that must always be respected. Because we are all different, 5 factions are not enough to rank us inside, everyone somehow has his own faction of which he is the only one to belong.

It is very difficult to talk about this book without spoilers because it would be a shame not to discover this book as you read it. I really loved this book and especially the sentences : “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” ; “I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.”



The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel from the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It has been published in 1985 and it is part of the literary genre of dystopia. A dystopia describes an imaginary society ruled by totalitarian power where people lose their freedom and self-awareness. This book is a futuristic novel and it has been adapted in TV series since 2017. Here is the story of this book :

Offred is a woman under the Republic of Gilead, a military dictatorship founded by religious fanatics. In this society where fertility has fallen dramatically, women are categorized. There are the Commanders’ Wives dressed in blue ; they’re married to « Commanders », political leaders with responsibilities. These women are concerned only with the supervision of housework and live comfortably. Then there are the Marthas in green ; there are servants and nannies when there is a child, they are sterile. Then, there are the Econowives who are married to poor men. Plus, the Aunts are the women who indoctrinate and brainwash the Handmaids. And finally, the Handmaids are the women still fertile. They are only used for reproduction and they belong to Commanders. They are recognizable by their red dress.

Offred is a Handmaid in this society. Before the new government came, she had a job, a husband and a little girl. Now, she spends her time in her room that contains the minimum and she has the right to walk once a day with a companion like her. Like all the maids, she suffers the contempt and jealousy of other women who are unable to give birth, and especially of the Commanders’ WIves, because it’s the maids who are able to give birth to their husbands. « It’s not the husbands you have to watch out for, it’s the Wives. You should always try to imagine what they must be feeling; of course, they will resent you. It is only natural, try to feel for them. » The Handmaids are therefore very badly treated but have to accept their fate.

Offred doesn’t have a name anymore and the only thing that keeps her going is her memories. She was separated from her daughter and her husband, who was injured the last time she saw him. The reader thus alternates between memories of the past and events of the present, which allows us to observe the evolution of the status of women. Indeed, the Handmaids no longer have freedoms and are conditioned to remain quiet. They live under the threat of being sent to the Colonies: a place where all those who are not executed are sent. The people there live in terrible conditions, which are shown to the maids to frighten them. Religion is also an important part of their « education » done by the Aunts. Maids are kept in the deepest ignorance : « Knowing was a temptation. What you don’t know won’t tempt you. » They do not have access to television (which only broadcasts propaganda material) or books but only to the Bible.

This novel allows us to discover a new society where women no longer have freedoms and are reduced to objects that are used and thrown away when they become useless. Indeed, this novel shows how fragile women’s freedoms are and are never acquired forever. Simone de Beauvoir said : « Never forget that all it takes is a political, economic or religious crisis for women’s rights to be called into question. These rights are never acquired. You will have to remain vigilant throughout your life. »

As a woman, this novel really sends shivers down my spine because I think I could very well be in Offred’s place. Indeed, the author was inspired only by elements that have already arrived in dictatorships and real authoritarian societies. This makes the novel lively and very touching for the reader, who can very well imagine the society described by Margaret Atwood. This novel also allows us to open our eyes to today’s events, where women’s rights are being challenged. I’m thinking of Afghanistan since the Taliban came : young women can’t go to school and can’t go out without being completely covered and accompanied by a man. I am also thinking of the United States, where a fundamental right is being called into question: the right to abortion. The law in the U.S. Constitution obliging the legalization of abortion could be abolished, which would allow some states to prohibit it. It is estimated that 26 out of 50 states would actually ban or reduce it if the law were abolished (including the great state of Texas). This would be a real massacre for women’s right to dispose of their bodies.

I really liked this sentence from the novel that made me think : « A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze. »

It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us is a novel from the american author Colleen Hoover. It has been published in 2016 and it is part of the literary genre of romance.It can also be described as a « psychological drama ». To write this book, the author drew inspiration from certain events in her life. It’s a really poignant book, you don’t get the same after you read it. Indeed, the book is about domestic violence. Here is the story of this novel :

For as long as she can remember, Lily Blossom Bloom has always lived in a world of physical and psychological violence. Between a violent father and a mother blinded by love she finds submissive, she swore to herself never to experience this. Her dream is to open a flower shop in Boston, the city « where everything goes well ». This is where she meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon who has everything to please and who seems really attracted to her. But Lily finds it hard to give her confidence to the male people after her traumatic childhood. Her story with Ryle will plunge her back into her family memories to Atlas, her childhood love that she never managed to completely forget.

The author portrays two different characters. Ryle is funny, charming, ambitious but we gradually discover a dark hidden side. Atlas, he went trough hell before realizing his dream : to open a restaurant in Boston. He is nevertheless a deeply good and kind person. Yet fate chose to separate him from Lily.                                                                                        We follow Lily’s internal journey. We first have the point of view of the child who does not understand why her mother allows herself to be beaten and tries to hide what she has suffered, instead of denouncing her husband. Then we move on to the teenage Lily who lives in misunderstanding and fear but who meets a homeless man who has conquered her heart, Atlas. Finally we have the point of view of the adult who loves his tormentor, Ryle, despite the beatings, the excuses and the pardons. We knew that love was complex but when hope enters the game, it distorts all our bearings.

The author shows us that we can’t imagine how we would react in a certain situation before being confronted with it. Lily who was sure of what she would do if her husband hit her loses all her bearings when the situation arises. Yet she forgives Ryle because deep down, she wishes with all her heart that this man was not like her father. However, Ryle’s actions are repeated and excuses rain down… His mother will tell her : « We all have a limit. What we’re willing to put up with before we break. When I married your father, I knew exactly what my limit was. But slowly . . . with every incident . . . my limit was pushed a little more. And a little more. The first time your father hit me, he was immediately sorry. He swore it would never happen again. The second time he hit me, he was even more sorry. The third time it happened, it was more than a hit. It was a beating. And every single time, I took him back. But the fourth time, it was only a slap. And when that happened, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, ‘At least he didn’t beat me this time. This wasn’t so bad.”

Lily is someone everyone can relate to. She is an extraordinary person who always sees the good in others. When she suffers, the reader suffers with her. We would like so much to be able to help her.The author manages to get us into the story. We fall in love with Ryle along with her, we take the first hit with her, etc… It makes us open our eyes to domestic violence. The story is all the more touching as the author experienced the same situation with her parents : her father beat her mother.

I won’t tell you the full story because I would like you to discover it yourself. To know what the heroine will do, it will be necessary to read the book. I clearly adored this novel but at the same time it upset me so much ; I have never felt so many things with a book. This novel is a real cry fo all people who experience domestic violence. It calls into question all our certainties and our assumptions about this violence.

The sentence that stuck out to me the most was : “All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”



Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel from the american author Ray Bradbury. It has been published in 1953 in the US ; it is part of the literary genre of dystopia (unlike utopia, dystopia offers a pessimistic vision of the future). The title refers to the auto-ignition point, in degrees Fahrenheit, of the paper (equivalent to 232.8°C). It is the temperature at which any substance or material ignites spontaneously in the absence of flames. This novel was written in the context of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. It was a period of tension with the threat of nuclear war and the rise of communist ideas. Here is the story :

Just imagine. A futuristic world where the books have disappeared. In this society, reading would be considered an antisocial act because it is a source of questioning and reflection.The role of firefighters would no longer be to extinguish the fire but to light it. Indeed, they would be responsible for burning the books, the possession of which is prohibited for the collective good, as well as their owner’s house. “Classes are shortened, discipline neglected, philosophy, history, languages abandoned, English and its pronunciation gradually neglected, and finally almost ignored. We live in the immediate future. work, so many distractions to choose from. Why learn anything but push buttons, plug in switches, tighten screws and nuts? »

Guy Montag, the main chracter, is a firefighter. He was convinced he was doing good before he met his neighbor, a young woman named Clarisse who is very quick-witted. He begins to question himself following this meeting. He had never read books and was not in the habit of asking questions. This fireman however begins to dream of a different world, one that would not banish literature and the imagination in favor of an immediately consumable happiness. We follow this man’s awareness and the upheaval it will bring in his life throughout the novel.

Ray Bradbury describes a world riddled with overcomsumption, self-centeredness and lack of culture; a world where, despite everything, people live happily ever after, drinking from TV series and sporting events. He also stages people who go beyond this pattern, for more realism and authenticity. One might wonder why books should be banned. Indeed, when you think about it, reading allows you to forge your own opinions. This totalitarian society has found the solution : abolish books and thus, the freedom of thought. The worst part of all this is that to avoid asking too many questions, the population makes herself stupid with the television. Plus, the banishment of books has been smooth.

This book is well futuristic but it allows us to question our current society. Books are increasingly threatened by infantilizing and mind-numbing screens and games. People are becoming more and more superficial and are losing their taste for culture. This book is a novel of anticipation which reminds us the importance of freedom of expression and which denounces the brainwashing (thanks to the TV) and the authoritarian excesses of our society.

I really liked this book because, as an avid reader, i can’t imagine my life without books. I don’t even imagine that we can ban them because it would be a real attack on freedoms. So, to prevent the Ray Bradbury scenario from happening, let’s keep reading !

I would like to share with you a quote that really impressed me and made me think : “‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic that any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.’” 




Pandemia – Franck Thilliez

Pandemia is a book from the author Franck Thilliez. It has been published in 2015 and it is part of the literary genre of thrillers. Here is the story of this book :

Amandine is a scientist at the Institut Pasteur. One day, she’s called to take samples from an ornithological reserve, nothing exceptional for her so far. However, she descovers the bodies of three swans who died in strange conditions. Soon, swan corpses multiplied, first in France, then in neighbouring countries. A race against the clock starts to find the origin of this strain and understand it, in the greatest of secrets.

At the same time, the police team of  « 36 quai des Orfèvres » composed of Frank Sharko, Lucie Henebelle et Nicolas Bellanger is trying to solve a sordid murder. A man and his dog were found dead. The pond next to the crime scene is searched. Bones and skulls from four bodies are found. In addition, a computer attack hits the police station’s network, preventing the use of computers and deleting their data. Instead, a chilling message appears : « The Flood will come first from heaven, and then the Apocalypse will come forth from the bowels of the earth ».

Moreover, we discover that the first human cases of the virus are begginning to appear and that the contagion is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. The hypothesis of a natural disaster is quickly replaced by that of a terrorist nature.

We can easily compare the book to our actual situation. That’s why I chose to present this book, although there are differencies. It talks about a global pandemic, but here, it’s the work of terrorists. There are common elements with us like cyber attacks and terrorism. Besides, the story is very absorbing ! The plot is well thinking and the characters are endearing, that’s made the book fascinating. The author is also French ! The only negative thing we can report is that some female characters are set aside to the benefit of male characters. To conclude, obviously, this book was published in 2015 but some similitaries are surprising. As if the author was inspired by today’s life…

If you like the author Franck Thilliez, I advice you Puzzle, one of my favorite book with Pandemia. Thank you, for having read my article.




Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

Uglies is a book from the american author Scott Westerfeld. It was published in 2005 and it’s one of the well-known dystopias. Here is the story :

Tally Youngblood, the main character, will soon be 16 years old. She lives in a society where all the young girls go through a cosmetic surgery, called the Operation, at this age to join the Pretties caste. Tally wants to leave her world for this one, a world where people spend their time having fun, without worrying about anything. But the day before her birthday, she discovers the rebels world,a place called the Smoke. In this place, live people who reject the surgery. She’s going to learn that behind this perfect life we sell them lies a manipulation. She’s going to have to make a big choice that will affect her whole life : become rebellious and remain ugly for life, or succumb to perfection.

This book is simply awesome. He talks about an interesting subject : the standards of beauty. The surgery consists of closing the Ugly’s face and body into the « normal ». If you don’t do the operation, you are considerated ugly and therefore an outcast. The governement wants to change them completely to make it the ideal society, hence the importance of the physical. The character of young people is erased to make them obedient and naive so that they can be properly manipulated. Tally herself is very naive because of the education she received. They convince them that for living a happy life, she has to be pretty. It seems absurd for us.

To conclude, it’s a future society, but when we look at our own, we think our future might look like that fiction. Indeed, we notice that we also face social pressure regarding our appearance. Society also forces us to get into codes, which we begin to break. This book is therefore easy to read while conveying a strong message.