Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Title: The Testing
Publication: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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.
Cia Vale graduation marks the transition from childhood to being a contributing an adult. It's been years since someone from her community has been chosen for Testing yet Cia is hopeful that this graduating class will be different and that she will be amongst those chosen. It doesn't happen the way she hoped but Cia does get her wish but her family is not as excited as she believed should be and even her father, though proud of her, he seems wary about her being selected. Cia's joy deflates as her father shares a glimpse of his experience with the Testing, although he is not even certain about what transpired when he went through himself but he cautions her to just be careful. Trust will be the key to her survival for it is a test in itself. Can Cia pass or will it all in failure?
Cia is a great character with flaws but she has this strength that's endearing. She’s smart and observant whereas some of the other candidates are cocky and indifferent. She gradually begins to see that the Testing isn't what she hoped and may be much more sinister than she could ever dream. Tomas, her love interest, I liked him a little in the beginning but there is something about him that doesn't seem right. Shoot, some of the other candidates, how they do some of the things they do, makes me wonder if they even have a conscience. The Testing makes me think of the Hunger Games and I'm conflicted trying to decide if I like Cia or Katniss better. Katniss's circumstances made her harder and seem emotionally detached; whereas Cia grew up not necessarily privileged but she didn't lack for food....it is the Testing that changes her outlook on the world but not her character (I don't know if that makes sense). This book is fantastic and I found it hard to put down! The writing is so fluid and the characters are interesting. Overall, I think readers who loved the Hunger Games and books similar to it, will enjoy this book.
About the Author
Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son and when she isn’t writing, works as an acting and vocal coach. Visit www.joellecharbonneau.com.
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