Jun 19, 2014

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Review

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
(The Testing #1)
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; 336 pages
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 went to a book signing that featured authors who had all written dystopian novels.  The person conducting the interview had recommended not reading 3 dystopian novels in a row.  At first I laughed at it and thought it was a joke, but now I think she was being serious.  For awhile, I was reading a mostly dystopian novels because it's one of my favorite genres. Then I realized that I started getting drained while reading, and would fall into book slumps that would last for weeks.  So now I make sure to mix up how I read, so I don't into reading slumps.  I had read a few new adult books and a couple ya contemporary before starting The Testing.  And lets just say I was more than ready.  I devoured this book!

The Testing has been on my to be read list for over a year now.  One of my best friends has been raving about this series for a long time.  She would throw in some of my favorite dystopian novels in my face like The Hunger Games and Divergent.  To try to butter me up into reading it.    She'd said, "Come on Sana!  This is right up your alley.  I know you'll love it!"  And to get this out of the way early, yes I do understand the comparisons to The Hunger Games.  But this book really isn't The Hunger Games.  The politics behind the stories are completely different.  Also the objectives of "the man" differ.

This trilogy centers around Cia Vale.  Cia lives in a world that was destroyed by years of war.  The leaders choose students each year for The Testing.  The Testing helps determine future leaders of the country.  To me, this is what stands out from current young adult dystopians.  Number one these students are extremely intelligent.  They fight with their wits just as much, if not more than their brawn.  Number two, the people in charge seem to want them to succeed.  That was the vibe I got.  Even though they put them through these horrible test, in their minds they are looking out for the greater good.  They want strong leaders who know what to do in impossible situations.  It's not so much as punishment to them, but an unethical way to find leaders.

Cia is chosen for the Testing.  Along with 3 other students from her town.  One of which is Tomas.  One of the things that I really enjoyed was that for the most part Cia and Tomas's relationship was established before the novel begins.  They had already had slight flirtation and had danced at an event together.  So as readers we weren't subjected to the getting to know you phase.  But you do see it blossom.  And it's nice to read a book with two people who are not only romantically involved, but also have a partnership.  Of course there are issues of trust, but this is a competition so that's pretty much a given.

Fans of dystopian novels.  I encourage you to read The Testing.  This book is thrilling!  It's has some real heart racing moments and intriguing characters.  You don't want to miss this.


  1. I really want to read this one because it does sound good. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it so much since you took time away from dystopian reads. I get what you are saying though. I felt like reading contemporary books and now I've read nothing else for almost the past month and it is putting me off contemporary reads. Need to move on to UF or Paranormal for a little while. :)

    Thanks for the great review!

  2. I've seen this book being compared to so many other Dystopians. Honestly, I'm so over them now but I think I might give this series a chance! You're definitely selling me here haha. :P


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