Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Series: The Testing #1
Review Source: Netgalley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)My Thoughts:
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
You know how every book involving any aspect or trace of dystopia or competition or post-apocalyptic gets compared to ‘The Hunger Games’? Well, ‘The Testing’ is the first read-alike to ‘The Hunger Games’ where I feel like it deserves that recognition: where the comparison actually makes sense. The set-up to ‘The Testing’ feels Hunger Games-esque, especially with a central government in charge of the different colonies. That being said, ‘The Testing’ definitely has a unique feel of its own, and it was different enough from ‘The Hunger Games’ to feel fresh and interesting.
The eponymous Testing is for students trying to get into the university in the capital city. These tests are very mysterious, but what they actually are becomes very real and quite horrifying very quickly. I was completely immersed in the book, reading the descriptions of the tests and the changes in the characters. I loved how smart and tough Cia, our main character, is. While romance isn't a huge part of this book, I still loved the slow burning relationship between Cia and Tomas. These characters had a past; they come from the same place, and even so their feelings were slow to come to the surface.
While I can see some people feeling like ‘The Testing’ is too Hunger Games-esque, for me it was perfect. I felt like it had the feel and spirit of ‘The Hunger Games’ without being a copy. Plus, let’s face it: ‘The Hunger Games’ wasn’t exactly original. The genius of the book was the characters and how the story was told, and I feel like Joelle Charbonneau accomplished the same thing here. I loved how this first book tells a whole story, and yet also ends with some major revelations and information to set up book 2. I, for one, cannot wait.
I like it, and I think it would be better in person, but I really love this UK cover.
Find The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau on Goodreads, Book Depository (this is the UK version), & Amazon.