- “The Testing” by Joelle Charbonneau
- First book in “The Testing” trilogy
- Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
- Read as a hard copy book from the LA Public Library
- 4/5 stars
- Finished August 8, 2016
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 and 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.
Okay, I can’t even put into words how much I absolutely adored this book. We follow Cia Vale as she tries to go to University in a dystopian novel that really took me on a ride. I find the more I read YA Dystopian the more it tends to be “A Hint of Hunger Games” or “A dash of Divergent”. Rarely do I find something these days that tends to stand on its own. This, in my opinion, does.
I couldn’t put this book down. I ran to the library when I was done to grab the next one. As I said before, Cia is testing to go to college, the only way to a good life in this new world, however, The Testing ends up being really dark. The trials Cia faces test not just her knowledge, but her strength and even her ability to read people. I found this book engrossing, which is my favorite thing about YA, that I miss often now that I read so much.
There are hints at a love triangle, and a romantic sub-plot, but one of the best things about this book is the fact that that sub-plot does not become a huge focal point. It’s not about whether or not their “love” will endure, it’s really focused on Cia and if she will endure. There was absolutely an overarching vibe of “No one is safe” that permeated throughout the book…and it was actually true. So often in books they promote that idea but magically every character you know by name is okay. Not the case in this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes actually good YA Dystopian fiction. I don’t want to say it’s in the same vein as Hunger Games or Divergent, but I would say it could run close to them in the idea of a truly unique world with a real dystopian immersing feel.
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