Background and setting

The novel is Veronica Roth's debut novel and was published a little over a year after Roth graduated with a Bachelor's degree from the Creative Writing program at Northwestern University.[3] Roth wrote the novel during her senior year winter break[4] and sold movie rights to the novel before she graduated.[3][5]

The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. Roth indicated that she did not originally intend to use Chicago as the setting:

"I wrote the rough draft and I felt like it needed a more grounded sense of place, and I looked at the city I had described, which is all these trains constantly moving, and this lake marsh, and these rivers. And I realized that it was Chicago already, and it was just because that's the city I've known and loved the longest."[6]

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