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Sunday, May 17, 2015

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Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing #1
Joelle Charbonneau
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reviewer: Sophia

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.

The Testing was an interesting read, or should I say... reread?

The first time I read this (I was bored at the mall. I beelined to Barnes & Noble, plucked up a book, hid in a corner, and skimmed), I skimmed it, but I had a general idea of what was going on, what was happening – nothing very detailed. My second read though, was much more thorough and detailed – it was also a refresher of sorts.

The Testing is the first in a trilogy set in a futuristic United States called the United Commonwealth. Every year, the best and brightest of each graduating class in each colony are sent to The Testing, a program designed to pick out potential leaders of the future. When Cia Vale, along with four others from her colony, is chosen to participate in The Testing, her father tells her about his own experience – an experience filled with potential horrors that Cia may come across herself in her Testing.

I love Cia as a character: she's brave, she's intelligent – and oh, do I love the way she handles Will and Tomas when the tension is high between the two later on in the book. If there's ever a potential love triangle in the future, I might not be annoyed if Cia continues to handle them in the next two books the way she handled them in this book (read: I like Cia. I never said I liked Will or Tomas).

That, however, depends. Perhaps my brain will start crying in protest instead.

There doesn't, however, seem to be a major plot or storyline that appear until around the end: The Testing seems to be focused more on how The Testing operates from an inside look and setting up for the second book. Basically, for literally 90% of the book or more, Cia and the other testers are focused on surviving The Testing and making it to the new class of University students.

From early on in the book, similarities to The Hunger Games could be spotted easily: the colonies, the penalty of death, Michal, Cia's relationship with Tomas and Will, etc. Despite all of that though, I highly enjoyed reading through The Testing. The sequel is something that I'll probably enjoy reading (or listening) to as well.

4.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.