Disclaimer: Yes, I've finished reading the whole book today. No, there are no spoilers here, and it's not a review, but if you don't want to have any hint of an idea of what your emotions might be like at the end of the book, you might want to wait to read this.
I've been eagerly anticipating October 22nd since it was announced as the release date for ALLEGIANT. I even preordered the ebook so I would have it right away since there were no midnight releases in my area (and I knew I'd have to teach). I've been reading DIVERGENT aloud to my 8th graders (in anticipation of a field trip to see the movie in March), and we weren't done as of Friday, so I brought the book home and finished reading ahead myself because I knew that I wanted to reread the first two books because it has been so long since I read them. I wanted to really wrap up my experience with this series in the best way I could without being confused about details. This weekend, I reread INSURGENT for the first time (was I ever glad I did - there was so much I had forgotten!). And as I talked to my students on Monday, I shared my excitement for the release of ALLEGIANT with them.
*I'm going to talk about ALLEGIANT, and it's spoiler-free, but if you don't even want a hint of an idea about my feelings, you might want to skip this part.
At 4:30 this afternoon I finally did, and there were many tears. I was so grateful that a couple of my students who have read DIVERGENT and INSURGENT were in after-school activities in classrooms near mine so I could go talk to them right away. I was an emotional wreck after the events in the story, and I needed someone to talk to (without spoiling anything) who would understand how I could be crying over a book, and they did.
I know some people may not like events that happen in this book, and as devastated as I may be about certain things, I know that I trust authors to do what's right by the characters and the stories they create. I've loved their books and writing for a reason, so even if it's not what I might have hoped for, I know that it's being true to what has to happen to tell the story completely. Especially in dystopian books, these are harsh times and bad/sad things have to happen. I think this book will require some processing time and stepping back to appreciate it for what it is, without gut reactions of not understanding why certain choices were made. But here's the thing: If I didn't care so much, I wouldn't be upset or in tears or in disbelief, and it's because of what the author has written that I care so much. I've always thought: I may not always get a happy ending in a book, but it's the hopeful ending I really want so I can feel comfortable leaving these characters behind and knowing they're going to be okay. After this long with these characters and this world, I'm so glad I got to finish my time with them in one big stretch like this, and that I was left with some hope at the end.
Happy Book Birthday ALLEGIANT and Veronica Roth! Thank you for the memories and emotions and experience I got to have reading your books, and especially for the connections I've been able to make with students through your words and stories.