Review: The Testing (The Testing #1) by Joelle Charbonneau


Title:  The Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  6/4/13
Length:  344 pages
Series: The Testing #1


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.

My Thoughts

Think Hunger Games but….maybe a bit ‘dirtier/edgier’?  I’ve had this book in my elibrary for quite some time now, and i’m not sure what my hesitation was in reading it.  Let’s just say – HANDS DOWN THRILLED that i read it finally.

I’m not one to draw similarities among books, but i’m sure that anyone who reads this first book of the series will see that there are comparisons that can be made between The Testing and Hunger Games.  That being said, i still really enjoyed it.

Taking place in the future, after the world has self destruct through a variety of bombings, and 7 horrific feats (some man made some natural sort of) and the population is only bits of what it was, and are scattered around the country in ‘colonies’ .  Tosu City places the capital role here and where all things governmental stem from.

We meet Malencia a 16 yr old on the night of her graduation from ‘high school’ i suppose when things are going to change for her.  She’s from a smaller colony where for the past 10 years or so at least, no one has been selected for the Testing. it’s odd, but i suppose it happens right.  there are rumors that an official from Tosu City will be at the ceremony which makes people wonder if one of the graduates have been selected.  i believe that there were maybe 14 kids in the class so the liklihood of Cia being the one, well, surprisingly higher.

While no one is selected at the ceremony, we soon learn the next day that not only has 1 person been chosen, but 4 have.  Thomas, Malachi and Zandri.  This story that we follow in The Testing centers around the relationship that Cia and Thomas develop both on an emotional level and really just to survive.

The Testing is a series of survival tests, to see who has the skills to reinvigorate the world, to develop things that seem lost, and to lead the continent into the future as a power.  The question really becomes what are they looking for in the future of the United Commonwealth, and do either Cia or Thomas have what it takes.

Survival of the fittest

May the smartest one win

who can out strategize the ‘man’ who controls it all

and is someone a pawn?

Throughout this story, similar to what we saw with Katniss in THG, Cia is quick to notice when things aren’t always what they seem and uses it to her advantage.  She’s an honest player and competitor, and that works for her benefit.  The folks that she meets on her journey just add to the confusion and tease what we hope to see in the next few books.  Michal for sure, the gray haired man from the journey – Zeen and her father – all people that i can’t wait to learn more about and how they affect things.

A few questions that come up to me:

1) what will happen with Cia and Thomas

2) What’s the story with Michal

3) will they ever see their families again

4) what will they remember and what will they forget

5) what’s the motive behind everything?  who can you trust.

so….now i can’t wait for book 2 to come out.  it’s not here fast enough! Thinking that i have to wait until january unless i can get my hands on an ARC


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