Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: The Testing (Joelle Charbonneau)

The Testing (The Testing, #1)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Book Purchased for Review Purposes

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.

Joelle Charbonneau
I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. 
While I'm happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

The Testing…Where do I begin? I have read several reviews that state this book is similar to Hunger Games. OK yes it is similar in that it is a survival story where the candidates have to pass life or death situations in order to pass the tests YET it is sooooo different as well. The Testing is not only about surviving but also about instincts and smarts. There are so many twists that the main character has to “figure out.” I was just completely enthralled by this story. It was everything you want in a Dystopian novel. It was full of intense situations, heart-wrenching romance, and die-hard action. 

The main character Cia was so easy to relate to. She was a normal young girl just wanted to live her dreams. Her whole life she has wanted the chance to be a candidate for the Testing and to attend the University where she will become a leader for the commonwealth. This was her one chance to make a difference in her small colony that her family lives in, Five Lakes Colony. None of her other family have had the chance to partake in the Testing except her father. 

Little does Cia know but the Testing is not what it seems. The Testing is nothing like what she dreams it is and what she has wanted to experience her whole life. She is immediately thrown into a world that shakes her to her core and causes her to fight for her life, literally. She goes into each “test” knowing that she may not make it and that the friends she has made along the way may not make it as well. 

"Leaders are forced to kill all the time. Then they have to learn to live with the decisions they make. Just like I'm going to learn to live with mine." 

As the story progresses Cia and Tomas (a young boy whom she grew up with) face disaster and treachery like you can’t imagine and yet amongst all of this despair they begin a relationship. A relationship that helps both of them to fight and to want to survive each test. I love how their relationship is so powerful and how Tomas seems to love her unconditionally. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story…I devoured this book in three days…I could not put this book down. I literally found myself in the story with the characters. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this book ….I can’t wait to see what Cia has to deal with next…This book was truly incredible and Joelle Charbonneau has an amazing writing style. She developed these characters in such a way that you can relate to each decision they make and you really “feel” for them…I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good survival story with lots of mystery. SO GOOD!!!

The Sequel to The Testing: 
Release Date: January 7th, 2014

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)


  1. Is it Jan. 7 yet?! I'm glad you liked this book as much as me. Many other people said it was too similar to The Hunger Games, and although I totally understand where they are coming from for some reason it didn't bother me and it was still unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. I can't wait to read the sequel!!! I liked the fact that it was similar to The Hunger Games! I like that aspect because I love the survival part of it!!

  2. I loved this book. It was great! And I loved the second book as well even though they left a huge cliffhanger. I wrote about The Testing as well

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