(The Testing #2)
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; 310 pages
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
Warning! There will be slight spoilers for The Testing in this review. If you do not wish to be spoiled, proceed with caution.
For starters I want to say how much I love the titles of these books. They are so simple, yet they say so much in them. Also the covers as well. And the tag line! Seriously the marketing for this book is just amazing overall. It just screams pick me up! It's a good thing that in this case you can definitely judge the book by it's cover because this series is just so good.
Independent Study picks up a few weeks after the ending of The Testing. The ending of the first book made me anxious for the second one. Cia listening to the recording she made for herself was the perfect ending. Now she has to decide if she should trust her own voice, since she has no memories of her actual Testing. It's a very peculiar situation to be in. I know if I were in her position, I would probably think of it as a prank. It's not that I don't trust myself, but she's in a situation where she's constantly tested. So I would assume it would be a test.
Cia is such a great character. In my review for The Testing, I didn't mention how much I adored her. She's really hard to not like. She genuinely loves learning. She has this thirst for knowledge. It's nice to read that in a YA book. To have a character that enjoys school. Because personally I enjoyed school growing up. Cia has some choices to make in this book. Her mind and her gut are sort of at odds. But when you're faced with that decision you have to just trust your instincts.
The lack of Tomas was a personal bummer for me. But as a book, it works really well. You don't have your typical 2nd book break up. That usually occurs in young adult novels. While yes, Tomas and Cia have their issues. It's nothing that's overly dramatized, and it's issues that make sense.
There are quite a few new characters that are introduced and that really freshens up the story. You are challenged to figure out who Cia should trust, and who she shouldn't. That's always fun to read. And the ending, my gosh the ending! Seriously what a cliff hanger! That is how you end a book. It made me very much excited for the last book, Graduation Day!