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
5 of 5 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.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
First Book Good, The Other Two Lacking!
Although I am WELL ABOVE, VERY VERY WELL ABOVE the age of Young Adult readers, I still enjoy reading YA Dystopian novels. This first book was very good. it kept my interest so well, I read it in 2 days, even though I had ALOT of other things to fit into those two days. Without giving any spoilers away, this series of 3 books starts over a hundred years after catastrophic wars and environmental disasters occur, as well they might the way things are going now! So the brightest young people of each graduating class in the colonies (who are "reclaiming and rebuilding" the earth) are sent to the only major city left to go through Testing. Testing DOES include written exams, but it also includes "life or death" situations to weed out those who aren't strong enough to be leaders of the next generation. I bought all the novels of the series at the same time, so I didn't have to wait until I ordered and received the other two. I may as well say here what I thought about the next (and last) two. This series has been compared by many, many reviewers and critics as being too much like "The Hunger Games". I've never read those books nor watched the movies, so I can't judge if that's true. However, I DID read the Divergent series, and like that series, the next two books pretty much follow into the same category-where a group of teenagers are accepted by the highest leaders of the land, work within their midst, having discovered some time back that these teens did not accept the laws of the land and rebelled against these laws. In all the dystopian Young Adult series I've read, it's the same thing. The first of the series is good and draws the reader in, but the next two books get more and more unrealistic and become somewhat stupid and boring. It was the same here. At least in this series the Protagonist didn't sacrifice her life for some unknown reason, but the ending was still disappointing-although nowhere near that other series (Divergent). However, as I already mentioned at the beginning, I'm not a Young Adult, and I haven't been for a LONG, LONG time. So it might be me and not the young people in the book or the author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
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By Larena Hubble
Dystopian futuristic Young Adult
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That is what they say isn’t it? But when they may be one and the same how close is too close?
Much of the planet was left a charred wasteland with the Seven Stages War. The future is supposed to belong to the next generation’s chosen few. The ones who will rebuild it. First though the candidates must pass The Testing if they want to enter this elite group. It is their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.
Cia Vale is chosen as a Testing candidate and is honored to be one. She is also eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and a future leader of the United Commonwealth. Her father’s advice on the eve of her departure hints at a darker side of her upcoming studies. Trust no one.
She can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance though, surely. Tomas seems to care more about her with each and every grueling and deadly day of The Testing. Cia must choose love without truth or life without trust if she is to survive.
This is a book that takes a genre and twists it into its very one genre. The characters are interesting and make for a story that will keep the reader guessing just who is who and who can Cia trust. The twists and turns the story takes will keep readers on their toes as they try to figure out what will happen next and just how it will turn out. It will also have readers eagerly reaching for the other two books in the trilogy so they can find out just where the books will ultimately end up and how they will get there. While this trilogy might sound like some other books this one truly does stand on its own and makes for an engrossing read.