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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.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Like almost every 16-year-old in the United Commonwealth, Cia Vale hopes to be called for the Testing, her ticket out of rural Five Lakes Colony and into the University in Tosu City. Cia's father was selected, but only vaguely remembers the experience in nightmares. Her four older brothers were passed over. Just when she has resigned herself to life as a mechanic or farmer, she gets word that she is one of four students selected from Five Lakes and is expected to board the skimmer to Tosu City the next day, most likely never to return. The bulk of the book is taken up with the Testing-devious exercises to identify those with superior leadership skills as society has suffered through Seven Stages of War and desperately needs to repair the damage to living creatures and the environment. The mental and physical trials will weed out 80 percent of the candidates, leaving several maimed or dead. Cia teams up with Tomas for both practical and romantic reasons. She is independent and smart for the most part, and Tomas seems almost too good to be true. There are double-crosses, mutant life-forms, and booby traps to navigate before 20 hearty souls receive word that they have passed. Cia's story is expected to span a trilogy. The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Mystery writer Charbonneau throws her hat into the YA dystopian ring with this series opener that bears more than a slight resemblance to The Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old newly graduated Cia Vale is selected to take part in The Testing, a process that offers the only chance at a college education and training to become part of the next generation of leaders. Cia has spent years preparing for this—it’s her chance to help the United Commonwealth recover from the devastating Seven Stages War. Cia’s father, who took part in The Testing himself, warns her to trust no one. Charbonneau is treading familiar ground as she sets her young heroine against a government machine that is focused, brutal, and duplicitous. Though the story moves quickly, readers might be confused as to the reasons behind the government’s methods. Why the brutality against students? There is no indication that the citizens are oppressed, and they’re unaware of how gruesome The Testing is. The ending will ensure interest in the next installment, but hopefully book two will deliver some answers. Grades 7-12. --Kara Dean
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
“The Testing is a chilling and devious dystopian thriller that all fans of The Hunger Games will simply devour. Joelle Charbonneau writes with guts and nerve but also great compassion and heart. Highly recommended.”—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Rot & Ruin and Flesh & Bone
"I galloped through this excellent read; I was in suspense the whole time."—Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
"There is nothing standardized about this Testing. Charbonneau's imagination will surprise readers at every turn."—Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness
"Action-packed and full of twists, The Testing will keep you guessing until the very last page—and desperate for the next book!"—Erica O'Rourke, author of the Torn Trilogy
* "The rising tension, skillfully executed scenarios, and rich characterizations all contribute to an exciting story bound to capture readers' imaginations. . . . Charbonneau works action, romance, intrigue, and a plausible dystopian premise into a near-flawless narrative."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Charbonneau jumps into the packed dystopia field with a mashup of Veronica Roth's Divergent and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, but she successfully makes her story her own."—Kirkus
"Charbonneau is a fantastic story teller and this book is a tribute to that background. The intrigue in The Testing passes evaluation of what a good dystopian novel should represent."—VOYA, 4Q 5P M J S
"The plot twists are well integrated and will keep readers on edge awaiting the next volume."—Horn Book
"The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures." —SLJ
Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Similar to other stories out there but still an enjoyable read.
By Kristina L
I cannot believe I let this book sit on my shelf for almost 4 years! I really could have used it to placate my Hunger Games withdrawal. With that being said I did find a lot of similarities between it and the Hunger Games. I am sure the author hates hearing that by now, but there were enough to distract me from the story.
The story itself was interesting and I found myself cheering for the characters but I wasn’t as emotionally attached to them as I normally am to characters. Cia, for example, was to wishy washy for me. Sometimes she was borderline paranoia and other times she shrugged things off too casually. I mean she is practically fighting for her life here!
The connection between the major romance in this story was not there or underdeveloped which lead me to question how quickly the two involved hooked up. It didn’t fit well for me. It seem like the shy girl and the cute popular guy hooking up has been done too often in other works. So you have to get it just right or bring your own unique twist to it in order for a reader to accept it. It wasn’t done well enough for me as a reader.
I also had a problem with the depth of the characters. For me, most of the characters lacked a deeper level of development and I think that is where the connection was lost. Even with Cia, we only get a surface view of her thoughts and feeling, and she is the one telling the story. Yes, we get her fear for her family and her gushy feelings for that one special boy, but there was no explanation or deeper emotional appeal other than she liked him because they had similar interests and he was popular or cute.
With that being said, I still enjoyed the story itself. I liked the different scenes for the testing and even the brutality amongst the different competitors. I enjoyed the mystery with the different adults that sought to help Cia along and how I questioned everything that happened. Was it all part of the test? Were the adults really trying to help or were they setting her up?
Do I recommend the book? Yes. I still think the story is interesting enough and this is the first in the series. I have already ordered the second book in the trilogy because I need more of this world. Remember that this review is my own honest opinion and should not deter you from the series.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
Test your patience.
By Nicky's Mom MD
I didn't even think about "Hunger Games" when I began reading this book. Within the first hundred pages I realized that it was a clone of that type of story. I decided I had invested too much time to quit reading, so I read on. This is NO clone. I t is unfortunate that this book came out after "Hunger Games," because it shares a lot of story points. The heroine is a teen who is forced to face a life threatening challenge because of a murderous government. That is where the similarities end, however.
This is a much richer and more complex story. At the end of book one, the trials of Cia and her friends are just beginning. Possibilities are still nearly endless at this point. I won't tell you any more because this is cutting into my reading time and book two awaits.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful.
An adventure that is NOT to be missed!!
I've had my eye on THE TESTING long before it was released. I even received an eARC from the publisher for review. I was just sooo excited to read this, but for some crazy reason, I didn't. I kept thinking how awesome this series sounds, and how much I love dystopians, but I kept putting it off. So finally, when I received my credits from audible audio, I said what the hell, it's finally time to give THE TESTING it's fair shot. And OMG, I found myself instantly drawn into this story. The narrator was amazing, and the mystery was alluring, and I was easily able to get into the vibes. I couldn't help but to pick this audiobook up every free chance I got.
Cia has always lived a fairly good life, better then most anyway. With a big family, all brothers, and two loving successful parents that any child would appreciate. She's been preparing for the opportunity to be chosen for The Testing. But when the time comes to graduate and become an official adult, Cia's world becomes a living nightmare.
Cia's dreams have finally come true, she's officially been chosen for The Testing!! And she can't be more thrilled. She's always hoped for the opportunity to show her government just how much she can contribute in making the Commonwealth a better place for their future. And now after all her hard work, it's finally paid off. Until The Testing actually starts and Cia finally sees The Testing for what it really is, a death trap in waiting!
Cia has no choice but to go through with The Testing, or risk treason against the United Commonwealth. And that right there could mean a death sentence in itself. But Cia's not giving up, she's smart, determined, and not easily manipulated. And besides, Cia has one thing that gives her an advantage, and just might keep her alive long enough to get through The Testing. She has her fathers words, his warnings, his own experiences through The Testing. But as The Testing gets deeper, and Cia finds herself getting closer to the finish line, her fathers words ring in her ears "Trust no one." But Cia finds herself drawn to her childhood friend Tomas, and feels for some reason, he can be trusted. But what about the other Testing Candidates? Can they be trusted? Who's real, and who isn't? Who is befriending her to betray her? And who is befriending her to ally with her?
As the plot thickens, and The Testing Candidates get further into The Testing, they will have to determine who is deadly, and who is just trying survive. Because before all is said and done, they will come face to face with death, but whether or not they survive is up to them. But Cia may find that there is more cutthroats then not, and if she has any chance of surviving, she will have to do as her father said "Trust no one!" But surly, she can trust Tomas, can't she?
THE TESTING was a great addition to the Dystopian genre, that is sure to please many readers. I'm looking forward to finishing this series and seeing what happens next in Cia and Tomas's adventure!
Overall, THE TESTING was a fast-paced, action-packed, thrill-ride, that is not to be missed! If you love action, adventure, corrupt governments, rebellions, and overall, a great dystopian novel, then THE TESTING is sure to please!!!
NOTE: I received an eARC from Houghton Mifflin Books for reviewing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!
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