Tris (aka Beatrice Prior) – born in Abnegation but never feeling like being selfless is natural. She learns in her “test” at school that she is a divergent. She has aptitude for more than one faction (Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation).
Four (aka Tobias) – trains the transfers. Turns out his nickname came from the fact that he only had 4 fears in the simulation.
Caleb Prior – Tris’ brother. He too leaves Abnegation but he goes to Erudite.
Mom & Dad Prior
Jeannine – leader of the Erudite. She is out to take over the factions and she starts with the Abnegation faction.
Christina – former Candor and fellow Dauntless initiate with Tris. She and Tris become friends.
Al – former Erudite and fellow Dauntless initiate with Tris.
Will – former fellow Dauntless initiate with Tris. He and Christina become a thing.
Marcus – Four’s Abnegation father.
Main Premise – (first paragraph from goodreads:) In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
(Now my words:) What is Tris’ secret? That she is divergent. Meaning she has aptitude for more than one faction (in her case Erudite, Abnegation and Dauntless. She makes it through the first stage of training, with some help from Four. And she is improving during the second stage and some of the fellow initiates feel threatened by the progress she is making. Three of the others, including Al, attack her. Four saves her. This is where she learns that Four sort of likes her. He starts helping her more and she starts to suspect that he too is divergent. Meanwile, Al kills himself. Peter, one of the other initiates (who is really just a bad guy) stabs the #1 initiate in the eye (Edward). Eric, the other training instructor is working for Erudite. And Tris discovers that her mother used to be Dauntless. When all is said and done, the Erudite try to take over the city through the use of a serum that puts all the Dauntless (except the divergent) into a trance and they start rounding up and killing the Abnegation. Tris reunites with her family only to watch her mother get shot and killed, her father too, and Caleb seems to come to her side. They, with Tobais/Four escape to Amity.
How does it end? The group is on its way to Amity seeking sanctuary of sorts. Dauntless is freed from the mind control of Erudite.
Other important things to remember for later: Tris killed Will during the “simulation” (aka the killing of the Abnegation). Tris’ mother was dauntless but she was killed rescuing Tris and Tris’ father was killed while trying to stop the attacks. Tobias’ father really did abuse Tobias. Erudite was sort of stopped as the attempt at killing all Abnegation was prevented. There was some sort of secret that the Abnegation had and Erudite wanted. There seem to be serums for all sorts of things.