Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The basics

Title: Insurgent


Series: Divergent #2

- Divergent (January 2011)
- Insurgent (March 2012)
- Allegiant (October 2013)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Read a full summary of Insurgent by Veronica Roth below. If you can’t remember what happened in Insurgent and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

This surprise recap was written and submitted by Asti from Oh, the Books! who is obviously made of awesome!

In short

Tris and Tobias tour around the different factions, constantly trying to escape the evil hands of Erudite. But the Erudite use their simulation powers to their advantage and make it so that a Divergent must turn themself in or else those under the influence of the simulation will kill themselves. Tris goes behind Tobias’s back and turns herself in, and is experimented on at Erudite to help them find a simulation that will work on Divergent. She eventually escapes (along with Tobias) with the help of Peter, because he felt he owe her one.

Tris finds out the Dauntless have teamed up with the factionless to attack the Erudite. Instead of helping them though, she joins forces with Marcus to save some mysterious information that the Abnegation had that the Erudite stole. She is caught in the act and identified as a traitor, but somehow convinces Tobias to look at the information. He does and shares it with everyone, and they find out that they were put in the fence because outside the world was falling apart (because humans are bad) and that once Divergent are numerous they should come out and save the world. The end. (Phew!)

What happened in Insurgent?

  • The book starts off right where Divergent ended, with Tris, Tobias, Marcus, and Caleb heading off to Amity on a train. They can’t stay long after arriving though because the Erudite with their Dauntless traitors arrive looking for them. Everyone tries to get away by pretending to be part of the Amity faction but Tobias is spotted and they have to run for their lives. In the process, Tris saves Peter from being shot.
  • Tris, Tobias, and Caleb jump onto a train while running away and find themselves face-to-face with Edward and the factionless. Tobias’s name leads them to safety because he is the son of the factionless leader, Evelyn (who Tris thought was dead).
  • Tris, Tobias, and Caleb decide to split up after staying with the factionless. Tris and Tobias head to Candor while Caleb heads to a different factionless safehouse where other Abnegation are staying after attack.
  • As soon as Tris and Tobias arrive at Candor they are arrested. Candor had footage of the attack and believed Tobias to be at fault for the simulation and Tris to be an accomplice. They are given the truth serum to find out if they are guilty or not. Tobias admits that he remained in Dauntless because of Tris while under the influence of the serum, and Tris admits that she shot and killed Will.
  • The Dauntless who are not traitors (teamed up with Erudite) are at Candor. They decide to go to Hancock building to spy on Erudite but before they can leave Dauntless traitors arrive led by Eric. They shoot everyone with these needles that knocks people out and then go in search for the Divergent who are not affected. They get a hold of Tris and Uriah (both Divergent), but Tris manages to stab Eric and then everyone is saved when those Dauntless who weren’t shot find them.
  • Tris, Tobias, and other Dauntless members decide to spy on a meeting between Candor leader Jack and Erudite representative (Dauntless traitor and leader Max). Candor leader Jack is told he must hand over the Divergent, release the Dauntless traitor captive Eric, and provide the names of those who were not shot by the needles. During the meeting Tris realizes that Max is speaking as if fed messages and that Erudite leader Jeanine must be nearby. Before she can find her and kill her, one of the Dauntless decides to shoot Max and cause a scene.
  • Dauntless members at Candor decide they cannot remain at Candor because it’s obvious the Candor leader Jack will follow the directions given by Erudite to protect themselves. They head back to the old Dauntless headquarters to reclaim their home after picking out new leaders for their faction – Tobias, Tori (girl who gave Tris her aptitude test/told her she was Divergent), and some random old guy. Tris was nominated but declined.
  • After taking over old headquarters, Dauntless think they are safe but Tris is woken up by Christina because three members are on the roof talking about Divergent. The three members relay the message that if one of the Divergents does not turn themselves over to Erudite, a person will die under the influence of the simulation every two days. The three Dauntless then proceed to try and jump off the roof, with one of them succeeding (Tris and Christina stop the other two).
  • Tris takes it upon herself to the be the Divergent who turns herself in to save everyone else, even though she promises Tobias she wouldn’t be so stupid. She is kept in a small room and guarded constantly by the always-lovely Peter. She is told she is going to be tested on until they find a simulation that works on the Divergent, and then executed after. Tris also finds out eventually that Caleb is there at Erudite headquarters, helping provide information about Tris’s Divergence (bastard!).
  • Tobias arrives at Erudite headquarters as well. It looks like some suicide mission done for love, but in reality he is only there to find out where the control rooms are and to tell Tris to hang out because an attack is coming. The Dauntless traitors have decided to team up with the factionless to take on Erudite.
  • Tris is a bad test subject and gives the Erudite boss-lady Jeanine a hard time, so Jeanine decides she’s going to execute Tris and continue testing on Tobias. Instead of injecting her with the death serum (or whatever), Peter replaces it with some harmless substance to save Tris. He then helps her and Tobias escape the Erudite headquarters. Why? Because he owed her after she saved him earlier while at Amity. (Can’t owe a Stiff! That’s just wrong!)
  • Tris, Tobias, and Peter end up at the Abnegation compound where the factionless, Dauntless, and others are prepping for their attack on Erudite. Tobias wants Tris to be part of his group during the attack but she claims she can’t go because she’s too shook up after everything she’s been through.
  • Tris actually sneaks off behind Tobias’s back instead and joins forces with Marcus. He claims that there is some secret information that Abnegation had that Erudite stole, that needs to be shared with everyone. It was what Tris’s parents died for. Tris, Christina, and Marcus head to Amity to ask the Erudites who ran away for their help with getting this information.
  • Tris, Marcus, Christina, and their helpers arrive at Erudite headquarters to find Candor guarding the roads under the control of the simulation. They manage to use a ladder to climb through windows from one building to another to enter the Erudite headquarters. People die and get shot, until it is eventually only Tris and Marcus still going.
  • Tris and Marcus arrive where they think Jeanine’s office is, which should hold the information she stole from Abnegation. They have to split up though because there’s two separate doors. Tris goes through one and finds herself in a simulation where she has to fight herself within a time limit or be killed by poison. She manages only by shooting herself, which is the first time she has been able to shoot a gun since she killed Will (oh the guilt!).

How did it end?

Tris finally gets inside Jeanine’s office where the secret information she stole from the Abnegation is located. But, upon arrival, she finds that Tori is there with Jeanine getting ready to kill her. Tris tries to stop her but fails, with Tori eventually stabbing Jeanine to death.

Tobias and Uriah arrive. Tori tells them that Tris is a traitor who tried to save Jeanine’s life and to throw her with the hostages. Before getting escorted away, Tris tries to tell Tobias that the information needs to be checked because it’s important.

Tris is thrown with the other traitors and thinks all hope is lost. Evelyn, the factionless leader, tells everyone they are getting rid of all the factions, even Dauntless, and managed to convince them to hand over their weapons without them even realizing it. While Evelyn is giving her speech though, Tobias shows up and tells Tris she is right. A video starts playing in the room in which some human woman states that everyone was put within the safety of the fence because on the outside humanity is killing each other. The video goes on to state that once there are enough Divergent, they should exit the fence and save those on the outside. The end. Dum dum dummm…

any terminology?

Factions – Groups created based off their beliefs as to which human qualities they felt were responsible for the world’s disarray. The five factions are Amity, Erudite, Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless.

Factionless – Those that fail to complete initiation into whichever faction they chose. These individuals live in poverty doing work that no one else wants to do (janitors, construction works, garbage collectors, etc.).

Choosing Ceremony – At the age of sixteen, teenagers get to choose which faction they want to join. They can remain in the faction they grew up with in their family, or transfer to a different faction.

Abnegation – The Abnegation faction focuses on selflessness. They cannot think of themselves at all and instead focus on doing things for others.

Candor – The Candor faction is all about honesty. They are all about telling the truth, and are trained to detect when others lie.

Dauntless – The Dauntless faction consists of the brave. These individuals are pierced, tattooed, wear black clothing, and constantly push themselves to do crazy thing like jumping off buildings and beating each other up.

Erudite – The Erudite faction focuses on intelligence. They are in a constant pursuit of knowledge, surrounded by books and computers.

Amity – The Amity faction is for the peaceful. They like to laugh and play games.

Stiff – Slang term for those from the Abnegation faction

Aptitude test – Test that simulates real-life situations in which each faction trait is tested and ruled out to determine which faction best fits the initiate.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

Other recaps for this series:


  • Geeat work! I read Divergent, but I couldn’t finish Insurgent so this awesome because now I know what everyone is talking about!

    Charlie xx

  • Aditi Gupta says:

    Thank you so much for this! I just began reading Allegiant and couldn’t remember who was who!! This review brings all the secondary characters in Allegiant in context.

  • Holly Bryan says:

    Thanks SO MUCH, the recap is great!! Like Aditi, I started reading ALLEGIANT this morning and was having all kinds of trouble because I could not for the life of me seem to recall how INSURGENT ended!! It’s weird because DIVERGENT is like forever imprinted on my brain, but for some reason my memory of INSURGENT – specifically the last 20-25% – is very hazy. I thought I was going to have to hold off on ALLEGIANT to go back and read books 1 and 2 again, which would take forever since I’m not a fast reader anymore… but you have saved me so. much. time!! Love the site!

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Does Marcus die at the end of Insurgent? I forget and I just started reading Allegiant..

  • Totally reading this right now since I am just starting Allegiant!

  • booksplz says:

    Just something that I noticed was missed – the woman that’s speaking in the video at the end is Tris’ mother!

  • Minoentje says:

    The woman at the end is definitely not Tris’ mother. It’s Edith Prior (mother is Natalie). Its either her grandmother, or an ancester of hers. The name is important though.
    Thanks for the recap!

  • I like this website. I forgot the whole Insurgent novel, and by reading this and the comments, I remembered everything. I can not read Allegiant. Thank You!

  • Marie-Claire says:

    OH MY GOD you saved my life! I didn’t want to re-re-read Insurgent before finally diving into Allegiant… Great work! Now I remember everything 😀

Leave a reply