Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins)
In the aftermath of war, the dystopian world that Beatrice Prior lives in has been divided into 5 different factions;  each faction  created with the sole purpose to promote and cultivate a harmonious society in a world previously ravaged by war.

The factions have been divided into the following groups:

- Candor - for those who value honesty
- Abnegation - for those that dedicate themselves to living selfless lives
- Dauntless - the brave and unflinching
- Amity - the peaceful
- Erudite - those in constant pursuit of knowledge

Every year, all 16-year olds members must undergo aptitude tests and select the faction which they'll join and dedicate the rest of the lives to. For 16-year old Abnegation member, Beatrice, the decision is a hard one. 

Born into Abnegation, she'll have to decide whether staying with her family is what she wants or whether she wants to stay true to herself by choosing the group that most reflects the person that she is.

Unfortunately she ultimately cannot have both - and makes a choice that astonishes everyone, including herself. But, making the choice, although a hard one, is only the beginning, because what follows next is an intensive, brutal and highly competitive initiation rite, and not everyone who goes through the gruelling tests will necessarily make it.

This is, hands-down, the best book I've read this year and the best dystopian fiction novel I've read to date.

It's currently in its eighth week on the New York Bestselling Times list and deserves every accolade that it has been receiving so far (And to think the author Veronica Roth is only 22 years old).

The concept is sheer genius and the world that Roth has created is utterly captivating for all (and in all) of its bleak, grey and desolate exterior. The direct contrast between the dystopian settings and the intense, engaging and unapologetically alive characters will bring you to your knees with the sheer force of the entire book in all of its divergent splendour.

The characters are blisteringly superb and Tris, as a protagonist, is just absolutely phenomenal. I've read a good amount of books where I've seen some fantastic character development, but never on the level that I've experienced with Tris. It's an absolute joy watching her grow from being the selfless, timid and reserved girl to the strong girl with an inner core of strength that not even she knew she had.

Her character development is realistic, real, compelling to watch and utterly believable and being witness to her ever-changing interactions with the secondary characters, including the antagonists, will keep you glued to the pages.

This book has the perfect combination of excellent storytelling, character development and sizzling romance. It's about being brave and learning to jump without any predefined knowledge of what may happen when you do, or knowing that there is a safety net to catch you. Mostly, it's about the choices you make and how it transforms you, regardless of whether the choice was the right or wrong one.

Even if you're not a fan of dystopian fiction, you will love this book. It's one of my favourite reads of 2011 so far.

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