Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

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've been enjoying the dystopian genre for awhile but I wasn't sure what could be different about this story. I was pleasantly surprised. There were many parallels to other YA titles that are popular now (The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent) but I liked those books and that's what interested me in this one. The idea of young people competing through a variety of tests is a common element but this still had twists that kept it interesting. There was plenty of action and suspense that helped the story flow and made it easy to read.

The characters were diverse although a bit predictable. Some of them appear to be "bad" people but is it their true nature or just their circumstances? Most of them are desperate to succeed, some at any expense, but failure could cost them their life. My feelings about many of the characters shifted throughout the story but I liked their mysterious nature and I'm curious to see what will happen to them throughout the series. 

Cia is the main character, a strong and mature young woman who learns from others but doesn't depend on them for everything. She loves her family and friends, has developed good morals, but everything she's always believed in is suddenly turned upside down. She has quickly learned she must keep an open mind and doubt everything and everyone. Her very life depends on it. Although at times she is almost too perfect she is still very likable. Of course there is potential romance thrown in and huge conflicts they must overcome as well. 

 I enjoyed the writer's style and look forward to the rest of the trilogy. These Testing candidates have the potential to change their world and face enormous obstacles. This won't be an easy fix! 

Independent Study (book 2) coming 1/14
Graduation Day (book 3) coming 6/14
The Testing Trilogy

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Books for Children and NetGalley (ebook) for an arc in exchange for my honest review.

Release date: 6/4/13
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 336 (hardcover)
Type: YA dystopian

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