The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The Testing is not your average dystopian– I have been reading plenty of dystopian novels lately and when I came across The Testing, I knew I had to check it out. Yes, there is a strict and some may say corrupt government in place which puts its young people through trials, however this is where this dystopian differs from the rest. In order to attend college, those who live in the United Commonwealth must participate in the Testing. For Cia, who desperately wants to attend college, her chances of qualifying for the Testing are very limited, since there have been no candidates from her colony selected to take part in the Testing for years. This year, however, there are four and Cia is one of them. Cia knows she will never see her family again, but she hopes that it is because she has passed the Testing and enters college and not because she failed. Cia knows that if someone fails they are never seen again. Cia’s father participated and passed the Testing. Before she leaves he warns her to not trust anyone. It is then that Cia knows the Testing is more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.
This novel really picks up when Cia enters Tosu City to participate in the series of exams to determine her fate. At first they just seem rigorous, but as Cia continues to advance, the tests become more and more intense and soon it is not a fight to attend college, but a fight to stay alive. As Cia progresses, she also begins to make allies and enemies. Her strongest ally is Tomas, who is from her colony but who she barely knew while growing up. As they get closer and rely on each other more, a romance forms, and when they enter the last test– a physical show of force as students fight to survive a trek through dangerous territories riddle with traps and deadly competition–Cia and Tomas will do everything they can to be sure each survives.
I would definitely recommend The Testing to anyone that likes dystopian fiction, especially fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. It’s also a good read for those who like a lot of action and adventure, but be warned: there are some gruesome scenes in this novel! Also be sure to look out for the sequel to The Testing, Independent Study, which hits bookshelves in January!