Book Review: The Testing by Joelle CharbonneauThursday, May 30, 2013
#1 in The Testing series
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Ebook, 336 pages
Published On: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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First Sentence: Graduation day.
I will be completely honest and admit that I have never heard about The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau before I received an invitation to download review copy from NetGalley. Since I am compulsive ebook hoarder (don't judge me I am working on it) I (of course) automatically accepted without even reading much of the summary. When there was no 'Send to Kindle' option on the egalley page, I was seriously pissed off, but I decided to read a couple of chapters on my computer before declaring it just another Hunger Games rip-off with clear conscience. Well the joke was on me, because I was glued to the screen using every moment of my free time to read.
The Testing is set in the future on the Earth ravaged by wars. Humanity lives in small green oases which are man-made by soil-regeneration and genetic modification of plant life to grow in new conditions. I liked the world Joelle Charbonneau developed, it presents a scary but possible future for humanity. There is no info-dumping, instead we are presented with small significant (and insignificant) bits and facts through the whole book that in the end help us understand the society and the motives behind the Testing better.
Story is narrated by Cia. I immediately felt connection to her. Cia reminded me a lot of me when I was high school graduate (a geek, from a small community, hopes to go to The University). Because she is smart, problem-solver, compassionate, thinks before she acts and plans ahead, Cia is one of my favorite heroines in young adult novels. I wish there were more like her.
Sadly for Cia, she has no control over the decision if her education will be continued. Since college is expensive, government picks only the best to come to The Testing for The University. And believe me if you thought your exams for college entry were hard, you are going to rethink that statement after you see what Joelle Charbonneau has in store for our heroes.
As always, every time a novel is labeled as young adult dystopian, comparison to The Hunger Games is inevitable. But this time the advertisement is not lying. In many ways The Testing has some elements similar to The Hunger Games: heroine is a smart and resourceful young girl who with a group of teens is set to compete against each other in a battle of wits. But here the motives for this competition are much more reasonable to me, after all when you are choosing future world leaders and politicians, you need him to be able to endure pressure and be the best there is. In some sick way, their logic has some weird sense.
In fact, I liked The Testing more than The Hunger Games. There, I said it kill me now. Sorry but, I adored the heroine and the world was chilling but possible future for us. Something like this could truly happen people, so be careful!
I will stop singing praises about The Testing now, and if you waited for me to say something bad about this book - it's not going to happen. I would not change a thing. I can not wait to read more about Cia's adventures in a sequel Independent Study. I know that she will not give up to fight for the right cause.
"Funny, but giving up is the last thing I will do. Not after everything we have witnessed and the things we have been forced to do. Giving up would be like admitting none of it mattered. And it needs to matter. It needs to be remembered."
So, if you are in a mood for young adult dystopian novel who is set in a frighteningly possible future world with smart realistic characters, likeable heroine, cute friends to lover side romance (100% clean and young adult safe) then grab The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. Or buy it as a birthday gift to those friends who loved The Hunger Games, there is a big chance they are going to enjoy this one too!