Publish Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 336, hardcover
Series: The Testing Trilogy, #1
Source: ARC ebook from NetGalley
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.
Right off the top there are similarities to The Hunger Games. Essentially, there are different colonies and chosen young adults are to go through a Testing to deem them qualified to attend University. Once chosen they are swept away from their families, joined with the other candidates among the United Common Wealth and put through a series of tests. They are then eliminated with either poor marks and/or death and the others move on until you complete the final test. Sound familiar?
The Testing, a first YA novel from Joelle Charbonneau was a very addictive read. I was always wanting to continue my reading to see the fate of each person, whether they passed the test or not. I was always on the edge of my seat awaiting the outcome of the tests. Would so and so succeed? Would they fail and if so, what would the consequences be. The Testing was full of heart-pounding moments and chilling details.
Cia, the main character from the Five Lakes colony was chosen for The Testing but before she left, her father who was tested years before gives her some advice and tells her as much as he can about his experience. Once their conversation is finished and Cia is on her own, all she can think about is how pass and stay alive and hopefully see her family once again. But the one sentence that her father said will stick with Cia (and the reader for that matter) is "Trust no one". These words will haunt Cia in her most vulnerable state and question who she can really trust. Tomas, her childhood friend and fellow colony member surely is a good and trustworthy alliance but as the Testing goes into survival mode she starts to wonder if she can really trust him.
There are so many great characters in The Testing and they all add something unique and meaningful to the novel. The Testing is written with great ease and has a story that needs to be told and I cannot wait until book #2 comes out to see where Joelle Charbonneau will take us next. For those who loved The Hunger Games, this will get your heart racing again, and if you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, you should give The Testing a go, you'll be sure to enjoy it.