Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing (The Testing, #1)The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 
Publish Date: June 4, 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN: 9780547959108
The Testing Book #1 

My Review:
I requested this book because I was intrigued by the premise and have to admit I love survival type dystopians. However when it arrived, I think I was just about dystopian-ed out. But I picked it up because I was still intrigued and it needed reviewing. Now I am glad I made up my mind to do that. It's just a little slow going for the first 30-50 pages, but after that, it really takes off. I understand the beginning, getting to know Cia and getting feel for her family and the setup of the society The Testing takes place in. I needed to see how Cia was and how fiercely protective she was of her family to set the stage for the rest of the book.

But for me the book really gained my interest when The Testing started. And wow, I must admit I didn't expect the brutalness of The Testing. I was thinking the typical dystopian I have been reading lately, but this is much more like the Hunger Games in it's brutalness. I don't mind it, and I don't have a problem now handing the book to my 12-year-old who read The Hunger Games when he was 10. We can talk about it if he has any problems with it. I will also be handing it to my husband who really doesn't read YA except for The Hunger Games and The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson, but I think he will love this one.

While it focuses on Cia, there are other main characters, Tomas is obvious, and another one you will have to wait and read about because I don't want to spoil much. Just know the characters are interesting, and trying to figure out who to trust adds a nice twist to the story. It's every person for themselves in The Testing and that's what makes the book interesting. Once The Testing starts, the books momentum seems to grow page-by-page right up until the end, and what an ending! I will eagerly be awaiting book #2 out in January 2014, and I'm thankful I only have to wait 6 months between each installment!

The Testing is a brutal and stark dystopian, in the vein of The Hunger Games but different. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, getting to know the characters and the society they were in. I like the questions that are asked during the book and can't wait to get more answers in the books that follow. This is going to be a great series!

My rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
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.

About the Author:
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).


***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***