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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Posted by Caitie F on June 4, 2013

Title: The TestingThe Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Hardcover: 352 pages
Pub Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.


Everyone is looking for the next Hunger Games. I haven’t seen anything that made me that excited about a character or story until I read this book. The Testing brings fantastic characters, a riveting plot, and questions of what you would do for survival in this new dystopian young adult series.

Cia is brilliant and caring. In some ways,. she really reminded me of why I loved Katniss. But she is not a carbon copy of Katniss. I don’t really think she was even inspired by Katniss. She just has that kind of strength that makes her a character you love and care about. Did I mention that she is smart? Because she is really smart and that intelligence makes this book so great. She isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes and learns from them, but you can really understand her decisions. She is also caring, which is hard to do when there are a lot of people around who want you gone any way possible.

While you always know her intentions and motivations, you never really know about everyone else, which adds so much suspense. Her father told her to trust no one, but she feels like she has to or there is no hope. The reader gets to be suspicious of everyone. It is great because you don’t know where it is going ever. there were many times I thought I knew I could trust a character, and it turns out I was completely wrong.. It is a little bad because it makes you want to never stop reading, especially when the plot is so exciting.

The world that is created is highly believable. There was a horrible war that has seven phases, the first four were human-made, and the last three were from the Earth. Humankind has to revitalized everything. People learn to decontaminate water, figure out how to grow food, and make the planet habitable again. Each colony is within the United States, so it is easy to picture. The Five Lakes District is near the Great Lakes. Since that is where I am from, it made the impact even greater. They were talking about my home! The community still managed to have a Midwest feel which I loved and it made me a little homesick. As each character talks about their colony, you can figure out where they are fromt and the changes that have occurred. It is a really strong world and it helped me get lost in the book.

There is so much in this book about the lengths even people who seem good will go for survival. Are you honest when others aren’t? If you figure out that someone is dishonest, would you warn others to save them or make it easier for yourself to go to the end? Would you kill someone if it was the only way for you to survive? It looks at all of these questions and so many more in a way that makes you question so much.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!


2 Responses to “The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau”

  1. […] The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. I was worried it would be too much like The Hunger Games, but I loved everything about it. I have read the second in the series and it blew me away. […]

  2. […] The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau […]

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