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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The Testing series #1
2.5 of 5 stars
When Cia Vale qualifies for The Testing, a series of tests that will determine the students in the post-apocalyptic nation’s University, her father shares with her disturbing information about what really goes on in The Testing.
I know this room. White walls. White floors. Black desks.
This is the Testing room from my father’s nightmares.
From the very first pages, I was drawn back to City of Ember‘s graduation ceremony where the almost-adults anxiously await word on the future chosen for them. From there, we make a switch to The Hunger Games for a “you are the chosen ones!” journey from the poor outskirts of civilization to the shiny, bright capitol. After that, we’re treated to a Divergent-type testing for three rounds before being thrown out into the wilderness, fighting for survival Hunger Games or Crossed-style. If you’re looking for an intense dystopian along these same lines, this is a book for you. Also, a couple twists at the end did actually have me looking forward to the next book in the series.
But, I nearly put this book down… a couple times, not just because of its blatant similarities to other novels in its genre. Part of what kept me reading was wanting to figure out WHY?? Why these tests? Why those opponents? Why did the “powers that be” judge the testing in the way that they did? Why allow so many of the “best and brightest” to be killed off? Why are so many of these “best and brightest” so sociopathic that they think it’s a good idea to kill off the competition anyways?? Why? Not to mention the “well, what happened to [so-and-so]?” questions. And, sadly, none of those questions are answered.
Stylistically, I found some of the narration a bit redundant, asking questions for the reader that the reader had thought to question pages prior, and often replacing actual dialogue with “and then we talked about this…”-type narrative.
Overall: Intense dystopian YA for fans who are bummed b/c The Hunger Games and Divergent and Matched triologies have all been completed.