Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 3.92
Published: June 4th, 2013
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.(
I didn't think I was going to enjoy The Testing as much as I did! The whole dystopian angle is so played so you might understand my uneasiness. But I am glad to inform you that all my worries were put to rest. The Testing was intriguing and the pages go by very quickly, if it wasn't for BEA I would have finished this title long ago.
All that Cia has ever wanted was to be chosen for the testing. Her father is a University graduate, and she wants to follow on his footsteps. Only in this world in order for you to get into the University you have to pass a series of tests that determine much more than mere smarts. The people who go to the University are, after all, the future leaders. And so Cia gets chosen to go to the Testing, but before she gets to go her father pulls her aside and gives her some warning. Trust no one, the testing may not be all that it seems.
True the things we have read before are here, a barren wasteland, humans being too careless and destroying the world, a corrupt government, etc. Definitely some similarities with other dystopian novels (such as The Hunger Games since one part of the test is all about survival at all costs). But what I really enjoyed about The Testing was the way it tackled some very real issues no other dystopian has tackled before. We have all been under the pressure to succeed in one way or another, getting all As in school, being the best at something, getting into the best (and most expensive?) colleges on Earth... You pick, the need to excel on school is higher than ever these days what with the economy going to hell in a hand-basket. The Testing tackles this modern problem head on, playing with it, making us feel some sort of connection with every single candidate who is pressured to succeed. After all, if you don't you might just disappear and never be heard from again.
I ended up really liking Cia. She is really smart girl, and tough when she needs to be. It was nice, if not a bit sad, to see her character growing from a sort of naive girl with stars in her eyes to an observant determined woman. The story overall was more about the tests and everything so it wasn't big on romance... doesn't mean there wasn't some! There is no love triangle, but there is a very cute "boy-next-door" guy named Tomas who might make some girls swoon. I wasn't in love with him, I am more in love with Cia, but he was very pleasing to read about. Plus it gave us that romantic "tension" we oh so love.
The Testing was a fantastic start to a wonderful friendship. After finishing the book I was left with the feeling of needing to read the sequel right away, which is always a good sign! The possibilities for the next book are endless and exciting, and I only (really) hope the sequel it's just as good as the beginning.
ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.