Blast from the Past: 10 Years Later with Divergent

In this Blast from the Past, we’re going to revisit the novel Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I have to tell you…I did not read this book when it first came out. I just didn’t do it and this is definitely a pattern with me and books that hit the big time. I actually watched the film first this time around! However, I did find myself reading the novel during the first few months of the quarintine shutdown and really flying through the pages like my superhero power was speedreading.

This novel came out 10-years ago! I almost can’t believe it when that much time has passed and a book is still in stock at your local bookstore and available physically at the library.

Let’s dig into it.


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Title: Divergent
Written by: Veronica Roth

What It’s About: One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions.

Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.



Where this novel excels is in its action. It’s always moving forward and building towards something and that kept me reading and wanting to go back to the book each time I had to take a break from it. It’s about Beatrice Prior coming into her own, shedding the life she previously had with her parents and figuring out who she is. That’s relatable. All girls go through this in becoming grown women.

Shall we then speak of Four? And Tris? Together romantically? I’m just not sure about their whole relationship. Their connection wasn’t very believable until I found out about all of the things they had in common and how they were linked. I think it also allowed us to see Four in a different light – as more than a brooding and mean figure but also as a character that has been somewhat fleshed out.

The issue I do have with this novel (please stay with me here) is that we don’t really know why the world this book exists in is the way it is. It’s unspecified and not developed in this book. We’re just supposed to accept that the society, which by the way is just one in Chicago, Illinois, is now divided into 5 personality types and that’s what keeps the peace.

Human beings aren’t just one thing so to expect them to be that and assimilate to a life of only that is…stifling. It’s also puzzling that the personality type that is ultimately problematic is the one that values knowledge. As if intelligence and wanting to learn means you are somehow calculating, cruel, and untrustworthy. It just didn’t help me as a reader since I kept coming back to these issues with the worldbuilding. It didn’t go deep enough as I would have liked, especially, for a book that is over 400 pages long.

This novel is one that really divides readers. I’ve seen people who love it (i.e. the person who recommended it to me all those years ago), people who hate it, and people like me – who think it was okay and fun. It didn’t rock my world but it just might be your thing. Even 10 years later.



I also wanted to share booktuber Lamour De Books’ feelings on Divergent. They also read the novel for the first time and reviewed it. It’s fun to see how someone else’s experience of the novel so check it out below!

8 Canadian Young Adult Novels to Read In May & June 2021

In the monthly releases of new books and booklists, it’s sometimes hard to find those authors that represent the diverse voices of people from Canada.

Growing up, a lot of the authors I read were American or British. It’s what was published and promoted and available. Canadian voices weren’t easy to find. This is why I want to take the time and blog about Canadian authors to highlight them. Reading Canadian is important – to connect with authors from your home country and to connect to their stories.

My hope is that you’ll find a new author to follow and interesting books to add to your TBR.


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Title: Hurricane Summer
Written by: Asha Bromfield

What It’s About: Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.

When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.

In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise-all in the midst of an impending hurricane.


Note: It was released on May 4, 2021. This is her debut novel so check it out!


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Title: When You Get the Chance
Written by: Robin Stevenson & Tom Ryan

What It’s About: As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts—Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria—they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.

Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.

When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia—with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow—decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.


Note: It was released on May 4, 2021. This novel was co-authored by two Canadian authors.


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Title: Don’t Breathe a Word
Written by: Jordyn Taylor

What It’s About: Eva has never felt like she belonged . . . not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So, when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something.

But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?

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There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy.

However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences.

Separated by sixty years, Eva and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out.


Note: This novel is set to be released on May 18, 2021. You can also check out her debut novel The Paper Girl of Paris.


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Title: Aetherbound
Written by: E.K. Johnston

What It’s About: Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston”s latest is story of survival and self-determination.

Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.


Note: This novel is set to be released on May 25th, 2021. Check out a full list of E.K. Johnston’s novels here.


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Title: Misfit in Love (Saints and Misfits #2)
Written by: S.K. Ali

What It’s About: Janna Yusuf is so excited for the weekend: her brother Muhammad’s getting married, and she’s reuniting with her mom, whom she’s missed the whole summer.

And Nuah’s arriving for the weekend too.

Sweet, constant Nuah.

The last time she saw him, Janna wasn’t ready to reciprocate his feelings for her. But things are different now. She’s finished high school, ready for college…and ready for Nuah.

It’s time for Janna’s (carefully planned) summer of love to begin—starting right at the wedding.

But it wouldn’t be a wedding if everything went according to plan. Muhammad’s party choices aren’t in line with his fiancée’s taste at all, Janna’s dad is acting strange, and her mom is spending more time with an old friend (and maybe love interest?) than Janna.

And Nuah’s treating her differently.

Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, two newcomers—the dreamy Haytham and brooding Layth—have Janna more confused than ever about what her misfit heart really wants.

Janna’s summer of love is turning out to be super crowded and painfully unpredictable.


Note: This title is set to be released on May 25th, 2021. It’s so close! I can’t wait for this book. If you haven’t already, please check out her debut novel, Saints and Misfits, and her 2nd novel, Love From A to Z.


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Title: Sisters of the Snake (Ria & Rani #1)
Written by: Sarena Nanua and Sasha Nanua

What It’s About: A lost princess. A mysterious puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.

Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.

When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.

A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.


Note: This title is set to be released on June 15, 2021. This novel is written by two sisters and I find that to be so cool and interesting. I look forward to seeing how they write together.


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Title: Rising Like a Storm (The Wrath of Ambar #2)
Written by: Tanaz Bhathena

What It’s About: With King Lohar dead and a usurper queen in power, Gul and Cavas face a new tyrannical government that is bent on killing them both. Their roles in King Lohar’s death have not gone unnoticed, and the new queen is out for blood. What she doesn’t know is that Gul and Cavas have a connection that runs deeper than romance, and together, they just might have the strength and magic to end her for good.

Then a grave mistake ends with Cavas taken prisoner by the government. Gul must train an army of warriors alone. With alliances shifting and the thirst for vengeance growing, the fate of Ambar seems ever more uncertain. It will take every ounce of strength, love, and sacrifice for Gul and Cavas to reach their final goal — and build a more just world than they’ve ever known.


Note: This title is set to be released on June 22, 2021. This is book #2 in the series so please check out the first novel, Hunted by the Sky or Tanaz Bhathena’s other novels. Her debut novel had me in tears, honestly.


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Title: The Last Time I Saw Her
Written by: Alexandra Harrington

What It’s About: It’s been almost a year since Charlotte Romer set foot in her hometown of River John, Nova Scotia. She”s been living at a boarding school hours away, safe from the trauma and broken relationships she left behind. All she has left in the small town is her older brother, Sean, who is struggling to keep the lights on in their run-down family home. Charlotte hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Sophie, since the night she fled. It’s not exactly a celebratory homecoming.

On her first night home, Charlotte shows up unannounced to Sophie’s eighteenth birthday party. The trickle-down effects of that decision haunt Charlotte for weeks. But when Charlotte reconnects with Sophie’s ex-boyfriend, Max, the two of them begin to slowly unravel what happened the night of the accident the summer before—the night that changed everything. Somebody knows something, and that somebody really doesn’t want Charlotte and Max to figure it out.


Note: This book is set to be released on June 22, 2021. This is a debut novel as well!


Shelf Sightings: K-Beauty Books

Skincare is really self-care. There’s nothing quite like reaching the end of your work week or a hard day, slapping on a facemask and settling into the couch with a book. Truly an ideal Friday night for me – before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and probably after the pandemic. Just taking time for yourself – to slow down – is something we all need.

In this week’s Shelf Sightings post I will be sharing 3 Korean Beauty books. That’s right. Books about that beauty routine that involves more than just a cleanser and moisturizer.

The thing about K-Beauty is that it is about finding out what works for you and your skin – these books just provide options, information, and advice. I hope you’ll find a few tips from these books to include in your morning and nightly routines to help you glow.


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Title: The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin
Written by: Charlotte Cho

What It’s About: The secrets behind the world’s most beautiful skin!

In Korea, healthy, glowing skin is the ideal form of beauty. It’s considered achievable by all, men and women, young and old—and it begins with adopting a skin-first mentality. Now, this Korean beauty philosophy has taken the world by storm!

As the founder of Soko Glam, a leading Korean beauty and lifestyle website, esthetician and beauty expert Charlotte Cho guides you through the world-renowned Korean ten-step skin-care routine—and far beyond—to help you achieve the clearest and most radiant skin of your life With Charlotte’s step-by-step tutorials, skin-care tips, and advice on what to look for in products at all price levels, you’ll learn how to pamper and care for your skin at home with Korean-approved techniques and pull off the “no makeup” makeup look we”ve seen and admired on women in the streets of Seoul. And you’ll get access to beauty secrets from Charlotte’s favorite beauty gurus from around the world, including supermodels, YouTube sensations, top makeup artists, magazine editors, actresses, and leading Korean skincare researchers.

With the knowledge of an expert and voice of a trusted friend, Charlotte’s personal tour through Korean beauty culture will help you find joy in the everyday beauty routines that will transform your skin.


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Title: The Korean Skincare Bible: The Ultimate Guide to K-beauty
Written by: Sara Jimenez, Lilin Yang, & Leah Ganse

What It’s About: The Korean Skincare Bible is much more than a beauty product guide it is a lifestyle,a ritual and a philosophy. This K-bible is the ultimate no-nonsense guide to daily Korean beauty care,in it you will find advice,step-by-step guides and tricks to take care of your skin and make it look great even if you don’t know anything about the art of cosmetics or have troublesome skin. It will teach you how to make your own beauty products and give you advice on tried and tested routines. This book will bring you closer to achieving flawless skin and will reveal all the secrets you need to be able to achieve radiant skin,every day.

The Korean Skincare Bible will becomeyourexpert guide to great skin – pure and simple.

Chapters:

  1. The history of Korean Beauty
  2. The importance of taking care of your skin
  3. Korean beauty products
  4. The Korean Beauty routine
  5. The natural ingredients used in Korean Beauty
  6. Natural Beauty
  7. K-Beauty don”ts
  8. Korean Beauty trends
  9. Korean Skincare answers
  10. Korean Skincare tips for men
  11. Travelling Korean Beauty tips

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Title: Skin Care for Your Soul: Achieving Outer Beauty and Inner Peace with Korean Skin Care
Written by: Jude Chao

What It’s About: The skincare journey. As much as we’d like it to, glowing, clear skin doesn”t happen overnight. But there is beauty in the process – not just the results. Author Jude Chao links skincare to self-care culture, giving readers a practical guide to developing their ideal skincare routine and using it to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression. The Korean skincare routine invites us to look at our skincare not only as a way to reduce lines and wrinkles or clear up breakouts, but as a tool for developing our self-care habits.

Steady improvement is the goal. Photoshopped perfection is neither realistic nor is it a healthy goal. What matters is caring for our mental health and building our self-esteem by intentionally taking time each day to give our skin some love. But it starts with changing how we view skincare and developing a routine that fits our personal needs and goals, and Chao will help you do that.

Dive into Chao’s book on K-beauty and discover:

  • An easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to skincare
  • A clear breakdown of skincare products (not brands), and pros and cons to help customize your routine
  • How Korean skin care can be a reliable and effective mental health management tool
  • Tips for avoiding common types of exploitative and manipulative beauty marketing