Veronica Roth’s Next Book, “Chosen Ones” to Be Published in April

Longtime readers know me as the resident Divergent junkie.  Like a lot of readers, I was disappointed in Allegiant and, though I read Roth’s science fiction duology: Carve the Mark and The Fates Divide Us, the books didn’t grab my imagination enough to post about them.  Not that I didn’t mean to; it just kept moving farther down my priorities list, especially with so much cool Cormoran Strike stuff to write about.

However, I continue to follow Roth’s work. Today, the publication date for her next novel popped up on my social media.  I must say, I am really intrigued by the preview and I hope this is an indication that Roth is returning to her strengths. 

More after the jump.

Roth is reportedly a fan of both Harry Potter and fan fiction; my most recent Chestnut Hill talk was an argument that Tris Prior is more of a Hermione Granger than a Katniss Everdeen.  Looking at the description of Chosen Ones, it seems like something Harry Potter fan-fic writers (perhaps even ones named Jack Thorne and John Tiffany) would come up with. Namely, when you save the world before your 18th birthday, what do you do for an encore?

The report from The Bookseller reads:

Playing with the classic “Chosen One’ trope, the fantastical novel is described as bridging YA and Adult fiction in telling the story of five friends who as teens saved the world from a destructive figure known as the Dark One, and must now navigate adult life as celebrities.

The plot for the book takes off on the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. The blurb reads: “When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold – bigger than the world itself, and they must reconsider what it means to be heroes – by destiny or by choice.”

I must say, the notion of a genre “bridging between YA and Adult fiction” made me both laugh out loud and scratch my head.  Considering that the Divergent series was part of a group of successful series that were enjoyed by both teens and adults–Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games included–and that most YA fiction is purchased and read by adults already, this seems like building a bridge over a tiny puddle most people simply step over.  But the hat-tip to Harry Potter—whose sobriquet “the Chosen One” is almost as well known as “the Boy Who Lived”– is painfully obvious.  How difference can a Dark One be from a Dark Lord? And what are we supposed to call this genre,  “older young adult literature?”

The publisher also noted something that made my heart leap:

Of all the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD – and her huge attitude problem – but really, she’s hiding secrets from everyone . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.

Yes, PTSD! This, of course evokes both Katniss and Tris, both of whom had PTSD-like symptoms as a result of their world-saving but traumatic adventures. Psychological themes were the strength of Divergent; (See here, here and here) and the series derailed when Roth switched to genetics without the same strong grounding in the biological sciences as she had in the behavioral sciences.

The mention of PTSD gives me hope that Ms. Roth will have the same strong psychological underpinning in this series as she had in Divergent. You also have to wonder how much Ms. Roth emphasizes with her fictional wunderkinds, given how young she was when her first book became a huge success, and the relative lack of excitement about her more recent work.

This kind of book could be either very brilliant or very lame, but, given by own Roth fan-girlish tendencies,  I am optimistic about the former.  Hopefully, the middle-aged young adults who enjoyed Harry Potter a decade or two ago will be attracted to the new take on ex-teen heroes.  Will there be echoes of Cursed Child? The New Teen Titans The Big Chill? or something completely different?

Counting down to April!

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