Ten year old Gabe is thrilled when he is accepted into a summer camp for gifted children. He has always enjoyed being one of the smart kids. But when he meets his new stepbrother, Zach starts making fun of “nerds” and suddenly Gabe can’t stop thinking about how the super-cool soon-to-be stepbrother that he desperately wants to impress would view the activities at camp. In an attempt to prove to himself that he is not a nerd who has nerdy adventures, he keeps a chart of the fun things he does, along with the various nerdy aspects that he should not share with Zach. Along the way he starts to realize that, nerdy or not, camp is a lot of fun!
This was a fun read, and I was pleased to see several characters that were unabashedly nerdy and confident in who they were. Gabe is less self-assured, but he rises to the challenge by the end of the book. Other than the underlying plot of Gabe worrying about how Zach would react, the story is a basic fun camp outing, one that makes me wish that I had attended a Nerd Camp when I was younger.
When Beatrice reaches the age of 16 she, like all others her age, is given a test to determine which of the five factions she most fits into. Although the choice of which faction to join as an adult is hers alone, the test can help to solidify a choice. To Beatrice’s surprise, her results are inconclusive. She’s divergent – capable of fitting into several of the factions. This makes her dangerous to the people in charge, and she desperately hides her divergent nature. Joining a faction and renaming herself Tris, she tries her best to fit in with her new surroundings, but danger lurks around every corner and Tris must fight for her life while wondering who to trust.
This book was fast-paced and a quick read that kept me turning the pages. I never really doubted whether Tris would end up with the mysterious young man she becomes attached to, but then I can’t think of the last time I was ever in doubt reading this sort of young adult book. There were several aspects that made me question some of the underlying logic of the factions, but they are spoilers, so I won’t detail them here. In the end, I would recommend this book to fans of dystopian young adult fiction. There is enough action that boys would most likely be interested, but it is clearly being marketed to girls.