When I heard the news that Veronica Roth, the “New York Times” bestselling author of the “Divergent” series, was coming to Fairfield University to promote her newest book, I immediately purchased a ticket to go see her speak. I have been a huge fan of Roth’s since my middle school years and could not wait to see her live in-person. 

As a part of her book tour for her upcoming novel, “Poster Girl,” the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, in collaboration with the Fairfield University Bookstore, welcomed Roth on Oct. 20 to discuss topics of the novel such as her research process, her characters, her worldbuilding and so much more.

The futuristic and sci-fi nature of Roth’s work has always provided me with an escape from reality, allowing me to enter a world that is unlike my own. Having been a fan of her work for so long, I was extremely excited to hear all about this new dystopian world Roth has built in “Poster Girl.” 

Upon my arrival at the event, I was presented with a signed and personalized copy of Roth’s new book. If only I had my “Divergent” series with me for her to sign as well! Just from first glance, I knew that this was a book I was going to enjoy. The vibrant colors of the cover and the distorted image of a woman’s face immediately intrigued me.  

To explain the premise of the book, “Poster Girl” follows Sonya Kantor, a young woman who was the former poster girl for the Delegation, a dystopian society in the Seattle-Portland megalopolis. After being imprisoned for ten years after the fall of the Delegation, an old enemy approaches Sonya with a deal. If she can find a missing girl stolen from her parents by the old regime, she will be rewarded with her freedom. 

Just hearing the synopsis alone makes me want to drop what I’m doing and escape into the mysterious and twisty world of this book. 

During the event, Roth was asked a series of questions by her literary agent, Joanna Volpe, as well as by audience members. The first question came from Volpe, asking what inspired the particular story of “Poster Girl” and why Roth used a mystery structure. 

Roth answers claiming that she has shifted her work from YA (young adult) to adult fiction. She said, “My adult work so far has been about the aftermath of the stories we usually hear.” Thinking along those lines, she asked herself “What other stories are untold?” Having started her career with stories of the aftermath of the Dystopian uprising, she claims it was a natural story to tell.  

“When I figured out who could tell this story in the most interesting way, that’s when ‘Poster Girl’ came together,” she said. 

In regards to her characters, Roth claims that her protagonist for this book does not resemble the usual hero figure that is prominent in her other works. Opposite the hero, Sonya is a political prisoner, complicit in the regime that has toppled. Roth claims that as the novel progresses, Sonya must unlearn what she has been taught her whole life to believe. She must compare what she has learned to what she sees in the world around her to learn the truth about her situation. 

Roth says, “In some ways, I feel like the mystery structure is really good for that because it’s this gradual uncovering of things that happens literally as she’s investigating.” In the novel, Roth claims that Sonya is investigating the case of a missing girl while also doing some internal investigation. 

When asked what readers should expect or take away from this book, Roth replied “It should just be fun,” a statement that I couldn’t agree more with. Reading should never feel like a chore and with Roth’s previous work, it never has. She creates such dynamic characters who navigate such complex worlds, all of which create a fun escape from reality. 

At the conclusion of the event, Roth stayed for additional questions and book signings. I attended this event with Brooke Lathe, our wonderful Vine editor, and we had the chance to converse with Roth at this time. She told us all about how she got her start, as she “began as a copywriter” and gave us some additional meaningful advice as aspiring writers ourselves. It was great to hear from someone who is so knowledgeable in the field of publishing and has achieved great success in her writing. 

It was an absolute pleasure to meet the author of some of my favorite books, and I cannot wait to get started reading her new book! “Poster Girl” was released on Oct. 18, so be sure to get yourself a copy and give it a read.

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