Insurgent – Book Review and Discussion Questions

I started reading Insurgent, by Veronica Roth, on the plane last Monday and I had the hardest time putting it down.

Actually going into the book I was a bit confused because it had been so long since I read Divergent <–recap and discussion questions here!. While I appreciate that Veronica Roth didn’t dumb down the book by virtually repeating the plot of the during  the first few characters (SOOOOO many YA trilogies do and it’s a pet peeve), I was also completely out of place. So if you haven’t READ the 1st book in a while like me, here’s a refresher (and somewhat of a spoiler, if you haven’t read Divergent at all <– to that I add – why are you reading this?):

4 Factions: Abnegation (Selfless), Candor (Truthful), Amity (Peaceful), Dauntless (Fearless)


  • Beatrice Prior – aka Tris – Main protagonist.  Small but feisty.  Divergent. From the Abnegation faction, but picked Dauntless. Just watched her parents die during a Kill Simulation brought on by the Erudite Faction.  Was forced kill her BFF Will.
  • Tobias Eaton - aka Four – Tris’ main squeeze. Also Divergent.  From Abnegation, picked Dauntless. Is only afraid of 4 things, one being his father.
  • Marcus Eaton – Tobias’s father. Leader of Abnegation. Escaped the Kill Sim. Used to beat Tobias when he was younger.
  • Caleb Prior – Tris’ brother. Erudite. Helped Tris and Co. espcape the kill simulation.
  • Peter – Tris’ enemy in Dauntless. For some stupid and annoying reason she brings him with them.
  • Christina – Tris’ friend from Dauntless, originally from the Candor faction. Had a relationship with Will.
  • Jeanine – Erudite’s leader. She created a serum that allowed her to control people into killing the Abnegation faction.
  • Eric – Dauntless leader. Youngest leader in the history of the factions. Worked with Jeanine on the sly to attack Abnegation.
  • Johanna – Amity’s spokesperson. Wants to keep the peace.

Where we left off (and where it directly picks up): A large percentage of the Abnegation faction has been killed by Dauntless faction members (who were under the influence of a serum). Anyone who is Divergent was NOT affected by the serum. Those in the know about the attack, decide to take action against Eric and Jeanine.

The synopsis doesn’t really tell you much about the book:

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

But essentially — Tris and Co. go through hell and highway to protect themselves and their peeps. And there’s a BIG SECRET.

My review:

Like I said – once I started, I couldn’t put it down. That’s USUALLY a good sign! I think Veronica Roth has a talent in pulling you into the characters without really providing much of a storyline. Not that there wasn’t a storyline or action – but like her predecessors (i.e., Suzanne Collins and even J.K. Rowling) there’s a lot of sitting around and plotting that could be completely boring, but instead I found it compelling. Like the first book, there were a few good twists – but unlike Divergent, there one HELL of a cliffhanger. Ummm… how long do we have to wait for the 3rd book?

Without giving TOO much away – here are a few discussion questions. I’d love to hear your insight and interpretation on the book. If you write about it – or use these questions for a book club – let me know!

  1. On a scale of 1-10 how annoying was Tris through the majority of this book? I’d give her an 8-9. She became tolerable again at the end. Thankfully her character was still intriguing.
  2. Why do you think Tris and Four kept keeping secrets from each other. Was it trust or guilt? Or maybe both?
  3. Do you/did you trust Marcus? Evelyn?
  4. What is your one true regret? (answer this as if you were given truth serum by Candor)
  5. What are you thoughts on Caleb’s actions? Selfish or Selfless?
  6. Do you believe in “paying off your debts” like Peter? Or are you more like Tris?
  7. Did you relate to Christina’s feelings about Tris? What about Cara?
  8. Why and how do you think the simulation worked when Tris was going to find Jeanine at the end?
  9. What are your thoughts on Tori?
  10. The ending + Divergent. Discuss. I had to read the end 3 times to make sure I was understanding it correctly. Boom. What an ending!
Have you read Divergent and/or Insurgent yet? If not what are you waiting for?


  1. says

    I have read both books, and just like you I had a little difficulty jumping right into Insurgent because I had read Divergent so long ago. So I reread the ending chapters quickly, and enjoyed every minute. Insurgent was a great follow-up novel to Divergent, and I recommend it to my students, especially the females because having a daring female protagonist is always a plus. I’ll answer a couple of your questions because I think they’re great!

    I do not trust either Marcus or Evelyn; I think they’re both out for themselves big time!
    I don’t totally buy into returning debts like Peter, but I am so glad that he did!
    Amanda @FancyOatmeal recently posted..Falling Back Into Place

  2. says

    I just finished Insurgent last night. Couldn’t put it down. Tris annoyed me to no end BUT I had to keep reminding myself that she was 16. I think that plays a big part in why her and 4 kept keeping secrets from each other too. Though I have to say, I love him, even though he’s always doing things on the sly. I can’t stand Marcus but I can’t stand Evelyn even more – that woman is a problem I think. I don’t think she’s bringing any good into anything.

    Ok I think I answered enough questions, otherwise my comment would be 3 pages long. When I started the series I didn’t realize the 3rd book wasn’t out yet and now I’m annoyed. I need it now. I don’t do well with having to wait.
    Rachael @ Happy Healthy Runner recently posted..monday motivation

  3. Kelly says

    I’m going to be using your questions at my book club discussion next week… Just wanted to let you know that there are actually 5 factions. You forgot to include Erudite. :)


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