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“The Testing” by Joelle Charbonneau

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“The Testing” by Joelle Charbonneau


Format: Available for eBook, paperback
Series: 1 of 3 The Testing series
Rated: 13+ for graphic scenes, action sequences
Genre: Young Adult
Goodreads Page:

The book begins with Cia explaining about the amount of tests that she has to take and also talking about her home town of Five Lakes. She is the youngest child in her family and she is closest to her father who shares the same love for physics as her.

When it comes time for her testing, she like every other student in her class try and pass the test for the honor to be chosen for The Testing. At first, she doesn’t pass but she gets called in and is told that her four other students from her class have been selected to go.

Cia is excited to go to The Testing, but before she leaves her dad gives her a starting message and a warning. She takes his message to heart and starts questioning and looking at everything different, everything that is except for fellow Five Lakes chosen student, Tomas.

Tomas is her exception and she has taken the risk to trust him with everything that her dad told her. She leans on him for support as they go through The Testing and see that maybe it wasn’t as big of an honor as they thought it would be.

When they get the final test, it becomes a fight for survival as they have to travel from Chicago to Tosu City which is a few hundred miles away. Tomas and Cia immediately team up and it all seems ok until things happen that force her to question everything that she thought she knew, including Tomas.

Going into this book, I had read a few review beforehand. There were quite a few reviews that were upset with the slow beginning because a good 40% of the book is about the test. Knowing that ahead of time, I was prepared for it so I was able to get through it without feeling frustrated. Yes, it was a little bit boring at times, but it was necessary to help set up the rest of the book. You need to see how bad the test is in order to support Cia in the rebellion against it.

While I do like to read a good romance story involved with young adult fictions, I didn’t like how this one started. At the beginning of the book, you really didn’t get the sense that Cia and Tomas talked much during their life in Five Lakes and now all of a sudden they act like they’ve been friends forever. The fact that Cia just trusts him right away was a little much for me. It would have been better for me if they showed him earning that trust over time.

The story lacked originality. There were a lot of times that I could see strong similarities between this book and other popular books like Divergent and The Hunger Games. Especially the final part of The Testing. All the candidates were dropped into an arena and were forced to learn how to survive as they race to the finish line. They had to deal with not only the other candidates but mutated animals and people (The Hunger Games much?) I am going to give the 2nd book a go but if it turns out the same, then I might cut this series.

Recommendation: Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins


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