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The next big thing?

Young Adult Literature publishers and Hollywood are always on the lookout for the next big thing. That one property that spreads like wildfire and consumes everything – think Harry Potter, Twilight, or The Hunger Games. Unfortunately for every success there are always a plethora of wanna-be projects relegated to used bookstores and the $5 dvd bin at your grocery store.

Divergent” is the latest contender. It fits the expected mold: teenage protagonist, dystopian setting, a society with archaic and restrictive customs and rules that seek to define the heroine. And it’s a series, so there’s capacity for longevity.

The first book in the series was published in April 2011, the sequel “Insurgent” hit shelves in May 2012, and the third installment, jokingly referred to by author Veronica Roth as “Detergent”, is scheduled for a release later this year.

Production has started on a film adaptation of Divergent with a release slated for May 2014. Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist) is directing a script written by Snow White and the Huntsman scribe Evan Daughtrey. Shailene Woodley, currently filming her part as Mary Jane Watson for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, has been cast as heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior.

In the event that Divergent fails in its endeavors, DreamWorks is stepping into the ring with its adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. Where Divergent follows in the shadow of The Hunger Games, Bardugo’s YA series is pure fantasy – fictional realms waged in a war confronted with encroaching darkness and flesh-eating creatures. Christopher Kyle is currently in negotiations to adapt the novel. He recently adapted the novel Serena, which is being shot by Susanne Bier and stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. David Heyman (Harry Potter) and Jeffrey Clifford (Up in the Air) are producing.

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