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The most comprehensive source for everything DIVERGENT.

{Exclusive} Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway Of “Divergent Thinking”

Have you been going through Divergent withdrawal? You’ve read all the books over and over and now you’re not so patiently waiting for the movie on March 21st and Four’s short stories on July 8th. We’ll we’ve got great news. Smart Pop is releasing a brand new Divergent Anthology that features an amazing group of YA authors that have come together to explore and dig deeper into the world of Divergent.

It’s called Divergent Thinking:YA Authors on Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy and it releases today March 4th, 2014.

Are you ready to hear more about it?


Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) has captured the hearts and thoughts of millions of readers. In Divergent Thinking, YA authors explore even more of Tris and Tobias’ world, including:


� What Divergent’s factions have in common with one of psychology’s most prominent personality models
� The biology of fear: where it comes from and how Tris and the other Dauntless are able to overcome it
� Full-page maps locating all five faction headquarters and other series landmarks in today’s Chicago, based on clues from the books
� Plus a whole lot more, from why we love identity shorthand like factions to Tris’ trouble with honesty to the importance of choice, family, and being brave


With a dozen smart, surprising, mind-expanding essays on all three books in the trilogy, Divergent Thinking provides a companion fit for even the most Erudite Divergent fan.

List of Contributors

Elizabeth Wein
Maria V. Snyder and Jenna Snyder
V. Arrow
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Mary Borsellino
Rosemary Clement-Moore
Debra Driza
Julia Karr
Dan Krokos
Elizabeth Norris
Janine K. Spendlove
Blythe Woolston

Our (Non-Spoiler) Thoughts

One of our favorite things about being a part of this fandom is hearing all the different opinions on things that happen in the books. Its so much fun to hear what faction people would choose, what characters they relate to, and what stuck with them the most from Veronica Roth’s words. This anthology gives us all of that from some truly brilliant YA authors. They dig deeper into things that we’ve only briefly thought about and they bring up some new things that we’d never even considered. Anyone who loves the Divergent series will enjoy this compilation. It’s a great way to dig even deeper into these books and fall in love all over again.


Excerpt (Contains Spoilers)

From Elizabeth Norris’ “Ordinary Acts of Bravery”

Acting in Spite of Fear

It’s easy to see how Dauntless embodies bravery. It’s what their faction stands for, part of their manifesto. They believe in bravery, in taking action, and in freedom from fear. However, it’s the latter—the idea of acting in spite of fear—that their faction uses to define bravery.


We see that from the moment Tris chooses Dauntless. When the Choosing Ceremony is over, Tris and the other Dauntless initiates must run out of the building and to the train tracks. Their first test as part of their initiation is to jump onto the moving train, then jump from the train to the roof of Dauntless headquarters upon their arrival. The train is moving just fast enough that jumping onto it is possible, but requires a certain amount of physical strength and agility. Anyone who is out of shape or sick or even suffering from a physical disability would have a hard time passing this test. In effect, it’s designed to weed out initiates who are physically weak right from the beginning. But there’s more to it than just that. Jumping on and off the train leaves no room for hesitation. There is a specific window of time, as the train passes the roof, when the initiates must jump. Then, from their train car, they can see people in front of them jumping off when their turn comes. They can see the consequence if they fail, and all of them are afraid. The test, however, doesn’t allow for that fear to control them. Even the slightest hesitation—from fear—could delay their jump, and anyone who jumps too late risks falling to his or her death.


The tests, of course, don’t end once Tris and the other initiates arrive at Dauntless. On the roof they’re immediately faced with another test: they’re asked to jump down a hole without being able to see the bottom. Tris can tell it’s at least several stories high, but that’s all she knows. While this test is different from the train jump, it has one striking similarity. Again, its purpose is to see that the initiates are capable of freeing themselves from fear or at least acting in spite of it. This time, the fear stems partly from the unknown. The initiates, especially Tris, who volunteers to go first, must trust the Dauntless leaders and jump into this dark hole and fall despite the fact that they don’t know where they will land. It is essentially a blind leap of faith where the initiates must banish all fear from their minds and trust that they will be okay. That this comes immediately after a Dauntless-born initiate misses the jump from the train to the roof and falls to her death, proving that no one is safe, only amplifies the potential consequences of this test, as well as the others they will face.


While the initiates are tested physically (physical training), they are tested emotionally (simulations) and mentally (fear landscapes), as well. As Tris mentions, in Dauntless they teach you to be completely self-reliant, to be prepared for anything, in order to minimize the fear in any given situation,which often means doing things the hard way. “There’s nothing especially brave about wandering dark streets with no flashlight, but [Dauntless] are not supposed to need help, even from light” (Divergent). That preparation makes sense, especially given their role in the government—to protect the city. Similar to our own military preparations, Dauntless life is designed to make them capable of anything, so that when they’re in a situation where there is no light, and they can only rely on themselves, there will also be no fear.


It also can make them foolhardy at times. Beating each other senseless in physical training, as the initiates are encouraged to do, and hanging over the chasm to prove one isn’t a coward, as Christina is forced to do, are not actions that stem from bravery. In fact, they’re more for cruelty’s sake than bravery’s.


Similarly, after Al’s suicide, Eric praises him, and instead of a somber funeral, the Dauntless celebrate his “bravery” for going to a place unknown. We know that Al wasn’t brave. He didn’t choose to jump into the chasm in order to face the unknown. He wasn’t cut out for Dauntless life. In fact, he was weak. Not because he kept missing the target in knife throwing and not because he needed Tris to take his place at the target. He was weak because he felt threatened by Tris’ strength and allowed Peter to threaten her. Rather than stand up for her, like she did for him, he even helped Peter and Drew assault her and dangle her over the edge of the chasm.


By celebrating bravery that we know Al didn’t have, Dauntless exposes a flaw in its definition of the concept. They’re striving for “freedom from fear,” but fearlessness is not always the same as bravery. Al’s suicide might have indirectly proved that he didn’t fear the ultimate unknown—death—but it was still an act of cowardice. For Al, the chasm was easier than facing the cutthroat aspects of Dauntless life and the shame he felt for his actions.


Fear isn’t an enemy of bravery. Driving people to free themselves completely from fear doesn’t necessarily mean their actions will be brave. Fear is what makes people brave—feeling afraid, yet acting in spite of that fear.



Two winners will receive a copy of the book along with a set of faction buttons, and one runner-up will receive a set of 5 Amity buttons! To enter, fill out the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you excited? Can’t wait for the giveaway to end? You can order a copy here!

Also, make sure you follow Smart Pop on Twitter and Facebook!



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  1. OMG, I need it! <3

  2. V Arrow’s, because I loved The Panem Companion!

  3. Maria V. Snyder and Jenna Snyder’s 😀

  4. Definitely V. Arrow’s!!! 😀

  5. all of them!

  6. Jennifer Lynn Barnes!!!

  7. Great giveaway! I loved The Panem Companion so I’m sure this will be every bit as good 🙂

  8. Elizabeth Wein

  9. V. Arrow’s 🙂

  10. All of the authors! I’ve read many of these books and found that the authors chosen never fail to amaze with their essays!

  11. Dan Krokos.

  12. Jennifer Lynne Barnes. I love her Raised by Wolves series 🙂

  13. I’m most excited to read Elizabeth Wein’s take on Divergent. Love the way she thinks!

  14. V. Arrow’s for sure

  15. Maria V Snyder’s, of course!

  16. Maria V. Snyder’s! Shes my favorite author

  17. Maria V. Snyder!

  18. Maria V. Snyder ,V. Arrow and Elizabeth Norris!!

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