The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau was the biggest surprise of the year so far. I’m euphoric and ecstatic at the same time. Euphoria because this book was so good, and ecstatic because it was soo good that I cannot wait to read the next installment.
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.
This book is set in an unsettled dystopian world with a fight-for-your-life test, similar to the Hunger Games. However, it doesn’t feel like a copycat. It just feels like another really well done dystopian Young Adult Romance. Instead of a fight to the death like in Hunger Games, The Testing offers a fight for your life, meaning more than one can be standing in the end, leaving more room for alliances…and betrayals.
I have to admit I was skeptical when I first starting reading. I mean, nothing can ever come close to Hunger Games, right? Wrong. I’m not saying one is better than the other but they both inspired that literary-euphoric hyperventilating. I was drawn into this story from the first page, and with how the book ended, there is still so much left to tell.
This story doesn’t have a love triangle but the romance between Cia and Tomas was so sweet. There was definitely something sexy about Tomas and I want more. There were so many twists and turns in this book. I loved it. It starts off like the SAT on steroids, which the tests were especially intriguing. I love puzzles and mysteries. Then it goes into this cross-country race to safety. Cia was an awesome character. I loved watching her try to unravel other peoples motives and kick ass, but still be vulnerable at the same time. The whole cast of characters were unique and intriguing.
This book left me asking a lot of questions but didn’t leave me wanting. It left me in the dark just enough to make me want to find out what was going on but not too much to where I got frustrated. This book had the perfect balance of romance and action, hope and betrayal, real and fantasy. I loved every. single. word. I don’t want to give too much away and spoil this story for anyone, just know that it’s definitely a must-read.
The next book, Independent Study, comes out in January 2014. With that ending, I cannot wait to see what happens.
STARS: 5 out of 5