Sometimes I randomly browse NetGalley and request books purely on a whim, and this is one such example. Though I really liked Divergent when I first rSometimes I randomly browse NetGalley and request books purely on a whim, and this is one such example. Though I really liked Divergent when I first read it, my satisfaction with the series declined with each successive book (not that I ended up hating it or anything -- I rated Allegiant 3 stars). That being said, one of my favorite things to do with books is analyze and speculate. (And no, not like in English class; I like my reading, analysis, and speculation to be interesting and enjoyable.)
I didn't really know what to expect with Divergent Thinking. All I knew was that it was a collection of discussions about the Divergent trilogy from various YA authors, one of whom is Dan Krokos. Once I started reading, I was excited by the analysis and discussions being done in each essay and surprised by how well the whole idea of this book matched up with what I like. I'd unknowingly picked up a book that was right up my alley!
Divergent Thinking, as you've probably gathered by now, is a collection of essays that explore various concepts, themes, ideas, and more within the Divergent trilogy. This was interesting and familiar ground for me, because this could just as easily have been a series of posts on a blog somewhere. (I suppose it's worth mentioning that this book CLEARLY assumes the reader has read the entire Divergent trilogy, because spoilers abound. I will avoid spoilers in this review, though.) These essays varied in quality and interest for me, but that is probably to be expected.
My favorites were the ones that dealt more with psychological and scientific analysis. The book starts off strong with Rosemary Clement-Moore's comparison of the factions to the multitude of personality tests and types we enjoy in our society. Jennifer Lynn Barnes followed that up nicely with her own interesting perspective on the psychology behind the factions. Even though I've never even been to Chicago, I was giddy with excitement as I read through V. Arrow's attempt to map out the Chicago we see in Divergent with the Chicago of today. Blythe Woolston's look at fear and its role in the series was fascinating.
Some of them satisfied my curiosity in a different way, but didn't quite scratch my analytical itch. That's really fine, though; I'd just been primed and spoiled with the analytical ones (my preference) in the beginning. I liked the way Dan Krokos pit the Bureau and the Rebels against each other to see which one is really worse, Julia Karr's comparison of the faction system to other problematic groups in history (like Nazi Germany, for example), and the interesting parallels (and differences) that Janine Spendlove drew between the Dauntless and the US Marine Corps.
The essays I didn't enjoy as much were the ones that seemed to have weaker arguments and less focus. Some of them felt like they were trying too hard or really reaching to expand upon their chosen topic of discussion. The contribution from Maria V. Snyder and her daughter Jenna read more like a mother-daughter conversation than an actual essay (that is, it felt like the kind of thing that only they would be interested in reading, not so much anyone else).
In Conclusion I very much enjoyed this book! I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of essays. I do wonder, though, how many people will end up buying something like this (I have a feeling that compilations and anthologies don't get a lot of sales, but maybe that's my own bias?). Like I said: I would have been just as happy reading these essays on a blog somewhere; in fact, I might have even enjoyed that more, because then I would have been able to engage in discussions about them more easily....more
A few years ago, I used to read nothing but nonfiction, and memoirs were my absolute favorite. These days, I don't read much nonfiction anymore, but wA few years ago, I used to read nothing but nonfiction, and memoirs were my absolute favorite. These days, I don't read much nonfiction anymore, but when I saw Freaking Out on NetGalley, I knew it was a book I needed to read. Anxiety has been a recurring theme in my life over the past several years, and one thing that always makes me feel better is reading about how other people deal with things I've struggling with.
I wish I had had a book like Freaking Out when I was a teenager. I would have eaten it up greedily, rereading it whenever I needed to feel less alone. The thirteen stories contained in this book provide a great solace for anyone dealing with anxiety, whether it be their own or a loved one's. This book covers a wide variety of people, situations, causes for anxiety, and methods for dealing with it, which I found to be both eye-opening and helpful.
This is a relatively short read, but I think it works very well this way. Each chapter focuses on a different teenager facing different problems, all illustrated with an interesting style, and told in a familiar and somewhat confessional manner. I like this, because hearing stories that come straight from someone else's experiences (as opposed to being turned into a clinical essay) really make the subject matter hit home.
It's rare for me to do this, but I liked Freaking Out so much that as soon as I finished reading the eARC, I went out and bought the book online. Sure, I'm 31 years old -- far from being a teenager -- but the stories of these teens still resonated with me in a powerful way. This is a book I want to keep on my shelves, because I know it will be a nice thing for me to go back to, and also a good book to share with my husband, my sister, and anyone else in my life who might be dealing with anxiety....more