Exclusive Excerpt from Divergent Thinking, Plus Review AND Giveaway!

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Ready for some more Divergent goodness this month? If so, you’re in luck!  This week , Smart Pop books  released a new anthology focusing on the Divergent trilogy called Divergent Thinking. The collection contains entries from 12 YA authors, all focusing on the world created by Veronica Roth.   Check out our review, exclusive excerpt, and how to enter an awesome giveaway below!

Our spoiler-free review

Smart Pop Books’ latest anthology, Divergent Thinking, is impeccably titled because this book actually makes you think! Featuring the ideas and opinions of many YA authors, Divergent Thinking provides unique and thought-provoking essays which hit on the various themes found in Divergent. From mapping out the Chicago found in Roth’s novel, to exploring family, the art and impact of making choices, and the virtues to which the factions adhere —  Divergent fans will find something in it they will love, and can probably related to!     We believe all of the different authors’ perspectives combine to make it a welcome addition to the Divergent fandom.

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Excerpt from Elizabeth Norris’ “Ordinary Acts of Bravery” 

Selflessness and Bravery Aren’t All That Different
In the beginning of the series, Tris rejects her parents’ values and beliefs. It’s clear in the very beginning of Divergent, in the way Tris talks about Abnegation, that she doesn’t believe in the ideals the faction represents. She finds selflessness stifling. Those feelings of rebellion are made tangible, and as a result more permanent, when she chooses to leave Abnegation and become Dauntless at the Choosing Ceremony. Once a member of Dauntless, Tris tells Tobias that she feels selfish and brave, linking the
two together. But she’s wrong. Selflessness and bravery are entwined, something she gradually comes to understand over the course of the series.
For Tris, her mother’s death in Divergent is the ultimate act of selfless bravery. Natalie Prior saves Tris from drowning, intending to get them both to safety and to join Tris’ father and brother. However, when they are cornered by two groups of Dauntless, Natalie makes a split-second decision.
She tells Tris to run and to meet up with her brother and father, and she tells her to be brave. Then she fires at the Dauntless in order to keep their focus on her, allowing Tris to escape. Natalie Prior knows that she is going to die. She knows that in order for Tris to escape she must sacrifice herself. But unlike Al’s suicide earlier in the novel, Natalie’s death is brave. She’s calm and determined, and she sacrifices herself without expecting praise. She dies for Tris without hesitation because she loves her daughter no
matter what and because she knows this is the only option that ensures Tris will live.
After her parents’ deaths, Tris struggles with the concept of selflessness and sacrifice and what each means to her. She feels guilty for leaving her parents, and she wants to honor them by making their sacrifice for her mean something. She even wants to follow in their footsteps, essentially making them proud by sacrificing herself for the greater good. That’s what drives her to turn herself in to Jeanine in Insurgent despite promising Tobias that she wouldn’t. She thinks that she is being selfless, and in a way she is, but she’s being reckless rather than brave. She’s sacrificing herself because she can and because she feels guilty about her parents’ deaths. Her sacrifice is not out of necessity. She had other options. She could have worked with Tobias and their allies in order to stop Jeanine rather than just resigning herself to death. Tris realizes this once she is facing her own execution and she’s injected with what she thinks is a death serum. This is a crucial turning point for her character. She realizes that
she values her own life and that she can be selfless and brave without sacrificing herself. She wants to honor her parents and their sacrifice by living and by helping people without violence.
By the end of Allegiant, Tris finally reconciles what it means to be both selfless and brave when Caleb volunteers to set off the memory serum in the Weapons Lab, even though he knows it will result in his death. He feels guilty about participating in Tris’ torture, and as a result, he is willing to die so that she will finally forgive him. Because of everything she’s been through, however, Tris knows that his sacrifice won’t be brave; Caleb is making this choice out of guilt and shame. His sacrifice will be cowardly. He will surely die, because, unlike her, Caleb isn’t Divergent and won’t be able to resist the serum. Tris, though, has a chance. If she can resist the serum, there is a chance that she could do this and live. She knows that the plan itself is necessary—there are no other options. They need to get into the Weapons Lab. She also loves Caleb, despite everything he did and despite the fact that he hasn’t been strong and brave. In fact, Tris is stronger and braver than her brother is, and that’s why she makes the sacrifice for him. Because she now knows that true bravery is selfless, but it is also kind: “That self-sacrifice should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own” (Allegiant).

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One more thing: we did mention a giveaway, so here it is! Two lucky winners will get a copy Divergent Thinking + a set of five faction pins (pictured below) and one winner will get a set of five abnegation pins. Click HERE to enter!

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