The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?
The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.
Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.
But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.
**An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Loved this novel!
I went into this book eager and excited to learn more about this thing called “The Testing.” Having Cia’s father’s last departing words in the summary piqued my interest, big time. Why can’t you trust anyone?! What’s so dark about being tested to further your education?
I could not wait to dive into this world. I had to hold off for a couple of weeks due to scheduling but once I finally started reading, I couldn’t set it down! School and life demanded my attention so unfortunately, I had to stop reading. But the next minute I was free, I was grabbing this book up again. Needless to say, THE TESTING doesn’t disappoint!
Cia and the 3 other members of her colony are the first chosen candidates from Five Lakes in years. The competition sees them as no threat. The Testing is a series of tests that not only test the candidates’ intellect, but also their character, leadership, ability to work in group, and survive. *cue creepy music* Now, while I can see how some people drew parallels to the HUNGER GAMES, this book has its own flare, spice, and really, its own unique premise. THE TESTING is all about learning who you can and cannot trust, being able to decipher the Testing officials cryptic directions, outsmarting said directions and the other competition, and using the skills and knowledge that has been instilled in you since birth to come out of the Testing alive. This book is a smart book. After reading it and seeing just how brilliant Cia is and her ability to figure out what the Testing officials were actually looking for, I realized I’d probably fail the test. Hard. There are some devious candidates who are willingly to do almost anything to pass the tests. And while the candidates do have to go through a certain test that sees their ability to survive on the ravaged planet, those are the only two ways I would really compare it to The HUNGER GAMES.
To sum everything up: I would definitely recommend this book to all dystopian/post-apocalyptic fans! While there may be some aspects that The HUNGER GAMES fans would enjoy, Joelle Charbonneau has created a unique world with a rigorous and daunting Testing regimen that I don’t think I would even be able to pass. She uses syntax to her and the Testing officials advantage, challenging readers to see if they are paying as careful attention as is required for the candidates to move on to the next round. With a realistic and admirable main character, THE TESTING is sure to keep your attention until the very last sentence. But be careful of who you decide to trust!