Debbie's World of Books
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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

May 19th, 2013 by Debbie's World of Books

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Source: Received for review

Publication date: June 4, 2013

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Series: The Testing #1

Rating: ★★★★½

Summary from 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.

I normally hate when every new book is likened to The Hunger Games or Twilight but in this case I think it is totally warranted to market this as a book for fans of The Hunger Games.  It has a very similar feel to it but there are just enough differences and Charbonneau’s writing was enough to completely engross me in the story.

I had mixed feelings initially about Cia’s character but she definitely grew on me and I came to really enjoy her despite her moments of naiveness.  She is smart and thinks quick on her feet.  While many of the other students take a cutthroat approach to the testing, despite her burning desire to make it into the University she doesn’t let it override her moral code.

Tomas’s character is a trickier one to get a bead on.  I switched back and forth between thinking he is a good guy or a bad guy who is simply using Cia.  I really want him to end up being good but Charbonneau has pulled some tricky moves in the story that took me by surprise.  So I guess we will just have to wait and see which side Tomas ends up being on.

The story itself was exciting, filled with many moments that shocked me and gave me the chills as well as some “wow, didn’t see that coming” scenes.  Let me just say I am so glad our SATs are nothing like the testing to get into this University.  Talk about having to suffer the consequences of your choices.  I could not get through the book fast enough and yet wanted to savor it as I knew there would be a wait until book 2 came out.  Charbonneau did a wonderful job of world building and while I still have questions about why some things are the way they are I’m hoping those will be resolved in future books.  The ending was perfect and yet is killing me because it sets things up that it’s anyone’s guess who Cia will be able to trust now.  Thank goodness book 2 is slated to release in January 2014 because if I had to wait another year to read it I would go crazy wondering.  This is definitely a book you want to pick up but be forewarned it does feel a lot like The Hunger Games.

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

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