July 5, 2014

Review: Divergent Thinking

I am a huge fan of Roth's series, so when I received an email asking if I was interested in reviewing this book, I jumped at the opportunity.

Title: ‘Divergent Thinking’
Editor: Leah Wilson
Pages: 256
Publisher: Smart Pop
Available: NOW at your local library/book store
Source: BenBella Books

Summary (from Goodreads):

Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy (DivergentInsurgentAllegiant) 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.
My Thoughts:

I was surprised not by how much I enjoyed reading the essays in this book but by how applicable I can make them in my classroom. As an AP Language teacher, I am always looking for interesting non-fiction pieces, especially ones that connect to YA, and this book definitely meets those standards.

This book covers a lot of interesting questions, several focusing on how factions work not just in the series but in life as well. We naturally “faction” ourselves off, and the authors explore and connect how “factions” define who we are as people as well as how they define the characters in the series. This was one of my favorite things to read throughout the book.

I really enjoyed several things about this book, and I can see teachers using excerpts of these essays within their own classes. You do not need to read the series to use the material, but it will help. Most of your students will probably be familiar with the series/film at the very least.

Ideas explored in the essays include connecting the factions to pop culture (Hogwarts/Star Wars/Batman/Superman), the “Big 5” of psychology, mapping out of the factions in Chicago, a mother/daughter conversation about choices that can be made again, bravery, fear as a biological response (cross-curricular with science teacher), etc.

The essays are wide-ranging, do not need to be read in order, and really are just an interesting look at the series.

Do I recommend this book?

I would recommend this book for the die-hard Divergent series fan and/or English teacher looking to bring something interesting into the classroom. With common core, I hear a lot of teachers looking for non-fiction ideas. This would be a great addition.

What's been your favorite non-fiction read lately? Share below. I am always looking for books to add to me TBR pile.

Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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