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Chosen Ones: The new novel from NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author Veronica Roth by [Veronica Roth]
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Chosen Ones: The new novel from NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author Veronica Roth Kindle Edition

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From the Publisher

A Conversation with Veronica Roth

CHOSEN ONES is your first novel for adults, after you’ve had so many successful books in the YA space. Why did you want to write for a different audience? And how was it different?

At first, I really don’t consider audience. I think about the idea, the characters, and the plot, and then after I’ve figured those things out, I consider who the story is for. And that’s what separates a YA book from an adult book—who it’s for. So my approach to the book didn’t really change: I set out to write the best book I could, considering my characters’ psychology carefully, the same way I always do.

The biggest difference, then, was at the development stage, not the writing stage: I built a story that was fundamentally about adulthood. CHOSEN ONES isn’t about coming of age; it’s about maturing, taking responsibility for your place in the world, and realizing that pain doesn’t give you license to be a jerk.

It’s about learning that the battles you fought to get where you are aren’t over—they’re never over, but you get to fight them differently the next time around.

Your book follows five people who, as teenagers, saved the world. What made you interested in exploring this time in their lives?

CHOSEN ONES started with something I get asked a lot: if the Divergent series hadn’t ended the way it did (no spoilers), would the characters have gotten married and had babies and lived happily ever after? That’s not a question I can answer—for me, the ending of the series is the only ending—but the idea of a teenage chosen one’s “after” did stick with me.

The thing is, the significant “chosen one” stories of my formative years actually do explore what comes after. You can read about an adult Paul Atreides, Ender Wiggin, or even Harry Potter, but the focus of those continuations isn’t on the psychological impact of their childhood trauma in the immediate aftermath, because that wasn’t the primary concern of those authors. So while I don’t expect those books to be about how someone would cope with being famous for hurting someone (or many someones), I still had the question. And an unanswered question is the best foundation for writing.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to learn a lot about history, particularly Chicago history. It’s hard to talk about without spoiling anything, but in CHOSEN ONES I developed an alternate history, diverging from our own in 1969. The tricky thing is, if you’re going to build an alternate history, you have to know a lot about the original one, so you know what you’re changing and why. My major areas of focus were the history of modern computing, the Space Race, the development of SONAR, and Chicago architecture, both its history and the design features of particular architectural movements. I also know what an “escutcheon” is, and how to break into a couple different types of locked door.

Your story turns the “chosen ones” trope on its head – but you obviously know and love that story formula. What are the “chosen ones” narratives that have changed your reading and writing life?

My formative “chosen ones” stories were Dune, Lord of the Rings, Ender’s Game, and Harry Potter. The incredible arrogance of Paul Atreides swallowing poison to become the Kwisatz Haderach, or the horrible moment when Harry finally hears the prophecy that winnows his future down to a single purpose—those moments are burned in my brain. Maybe it’s because I come from a highly individualistic culture, but there’s something so fascinating to me about a character singled out by destiny (or whatever) for a significant—and often terrible—purpose. The burden of it. The isolation. The mettle it takes to rise to the occasion. I love every part of it. And I have so many questions about it, too, particularly about what happens when we offload our responsibilities to select individuals—what happens to them? What happens to us? Do we want to believe in Chosen Ones who will fight our toughest battles for us, or do we want to become them ourselves? I don’t know. Maybe both can be true.

The other narrative I should mention is the one I wrote—Divergent is a Chosen One story. The main character, Tris, is singled out by her unique brain, but she also takes up the mantle by choice—and that interplay between fate and choice is a huge feature of Chosen One stories. In some ways, Divergent and CHOSEN ONES are a call and response. Tris is the idealistic young person who fights the battle; Sloane is the jaded adult who deals with the emotional and psychological aftermath. Their stories (and personalities) are quite different, but thematically, for me, they’re linked. I’m not sure I would have written CHOSEN ONES without first writing Divergent.

Your book is full of action, sometimes dark, but it can also be quite funny. Do you find it difficult to write humor? Why is it so important for this book?

There are a few things I’ve been actively working on in my writing since my first book, and humor is one of them. Humor is hard. I have tremendous respect for anyone who writes comedy. How do you think about comic timing in a work of writing, when people read at their own speed, when they can stop and start again at any time? How do you align what a reader finds funny with what you find funny with what your character finds funny? It’s not easy.

The reason it’s a priority for me is that humor is a big part of being human. It’s how we cope with the world, how we point out the world’s absurdities and injustices, how we form connections with people. On a craft level, too, I think that if you can give your book higher peaks, you can also give it deeper valleys. Humor is a powerful tool for a writer, and I want as many tools as I can possibly cram into this writing toolbox.

Beyond all that, though, it’s pretty simple: the older I get, the more I need to laugh.

Editorial Reviews


“Roth (The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future (2019), etc.) made her name by writing best-selling YA action/adventure novels like the Divergent series, so it makes sense that she can so expertly deconstruct those tropes for adult audiences. There’s a lot of magic and action to make for a propulsive plot, but much more impressive are the character studies as Roth takes recognizable and beloved teen-hero types and explores what might happen to them as adults. Roth makes a bold entrance to adult fantasy.”
Kirkus Review, starred review

“With Chosen Ones, Veronica Roth keeps you guessing: playing with perception, multiverse theory, and the struggles that go along with being ‘chosen’ to save the world . . . She’s created a universe that you never want to leave.”
—Amber Benson, author of The Witches of Echo Park

“A hugely imagined, twisty, turning tale that leads through the labyrinths of magic and war to the center of the heart.”
—Diana Gabaldon, author of Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone from the New York Times best-selling Outlander series.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth is the cure for all those humdrum ‘one true savior’ narratives. This dark, complex novel rocked my heart and left me with a renewed sense that saving the world is a job that never ends. Roth’s version of magic is as flawed and fascinating as her characters, and her story keeps you guessing until the wild conclusion. You’ll never look at fantasy heroes the same way again.” 
 —Charlie Jane Anders, Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author of The City in the Middle of the Night  

“With Chosen Ones, Veronica Roth has pulled off a virtuoso performance, conjuring a stunning thriller/fantasy/sci-fi chimera like nothing I’ve read before, a story of ex-heroes struggling with the trauma of their past, what it means to have once saved the world, and the dark side of destiny.”
 —Blake Crouch, New York Times best-selling author of Recursion
“Roth somehow manages to make universe-building look easy. She sets it all up—world, characters, premise—so smoothly that you hardly notice until you’re a hundred pages in and hurtling down the tracks. An insightful exploration of desire and ambition that also touches on broader societal topics, including celebrity, social media, trauma, and recovery. A thought-provoking novel with ample emotion and a sense of playfulness with form. And one more thing: when the inevitable adaptation of Chosen Ones hits the screen someday, I just hope it captures Roth’s fascinating and original theory of magic.”
—Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown
  --This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

VERONICA ROTH is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection) and the Carve the Mark duology (Carve the Mark, The Fates Divide). Divergent received the 2011 Goodreads Choice Award for Favorite Book, Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of 2011, and was the winner of the YALSA 2012 Teens’ Top Ten. The trilogy has been adapted into a blockbuster movie series starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. Carve the Mark published in January 2017, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and remained on the list for eighteen weeks. The Fates Divide, the second installment of the Carve the Mark series, also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Though she was born in Mount Kisco, New York, Veronica’s family moved to Hong Kong and Germany before settling in Barrington, Illinois. In elementary school, Veronica read constantly, but it wasn’t until she got a “make your own book!” kit from her mother as a gift that she thought to write anything of her own. From that time on, she knew she would write for the rest of her life, whether she was published or not. She wrote the manuscript that would become Divergent in her free time while attending Northwestern University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing in 2010.

She is a board member of YALLFest, the biggest YA book festival in the country, and YALLWEST, its sister festival. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and their dog, Avi, whose adorable existence is well-documented on Instagram.
  --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN : B07SZBG91K
  • Publisher : John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 7, 2020)
  • Publication date : April 7, 2020
  • Language : English
  • File size : 5913 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 438 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 1,501 ratings

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
1,501 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars It’s good, I’d call it Young Adult.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 27, 2020
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2020
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S Payne
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure Veronica Roth is really for me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 15, 2020
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2.0 out of 5 stars A let down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 20, 2020
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Manda Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - inventive, perspicacious - and fun.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2020
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