The Testing (The Testing Trilogy Series #1)

The Testing (The Testing Trilogy Series #1)

by Joelle Charbonneau

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It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (“Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544035690
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Series: Testing Trilogy Series , #1
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 45,627
File size: 8 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago, Illinois, with her husband and son. Visit her website at

Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing, she works as an acting and vocal coach.
Twitter @jcharbonneau
Instagram @joellejcharbonneau

Read an Excerpt

Turning the knob, I push the door open and take a step inside. The smell, urine mixed with corncakes, hits me first. Then I see her. Dangling on a colorful rope. Hanging from the ceiling. Face red and blotchy. Eyes wide with horror. Neck gouged and bleeding where she fought from instinct or because she changed her mind.
   I scream as the reality of what I see hits me. Hard.
   Ryme is dead.

Chapter 7

Hands help me stand. Lead me into the hall. Someone asks me to wait and other people in jumpsuits come running from every direction. I clutch my bag to my chest like a security blanket as activity swirls around me. Ryme is cut down from the ceiling. A gurney appears. When she is whisked past me, I recognize the rope still around her neck: her dress, the one she looked so lovely in yesterday, tied to a bed sheet.
   I can’t help my stomach from emptying or the tears that flow hot and fast — for her, for me, for not seeing the desperation and depression under the arrogant façade. Did my taunting her with finishing the final written test push her over the edge? Could a kind word have saved her?
   I blink and realize Dr. Barnes is holding my shoulders. Looking into my eyes. I blink twice and swallow the bile building in the back of my throat. Mutely, I nod that I hear him.
   “They are going to assign you a different room.” He leans against the wall next to me. “Would you like to talk about
   No. But I will. I have to. Softly, I tell him about Ryme’s arrogance and her taunts today. My reaction and the apology I eventually gave. Even the corncakes and what I suspected they might contain. He’s a good listener. His deep brown eyes meet mine without censorship. His head nods, encouraging me to say more — never once letting his eyes travel to the officials walking in and out of the room, cleaning the floor next to me, talking in hushed tones about removing her belongings.
   When I am done, I feel empty, which is better in a way than feeling smothered by guilt. Dr. Barnes assures me Ryme’s death is not my fault. As we discussed earlier, stress is difficult. Some students handle stress better than others. Some can’t eat. Some never sleep. Ryme took her own life. While this is a tragedy, it is better for the entire Commonwealth population to learn now that she is not capable of dealing with the kinds of pressure she would be forced to deal with in the future. This event is unfortunate, but The Testing served its purpose. He hopes Ryme’s choice to end her candidacy will not impact the results of mine.
   End her candidacy? Inside I am icy cold. An official in purple informs us my room is ready, and Dr. Barnes gives my shoulders a squeeze. I smile and tell him I’ll be fine and that talking to him made me feel better. I hope he can’t see the lie. Because while his tone was kind, I heard the indifference in his words. To him, this was just another test. One Ryme failed. If I am not careful, I will fail, too.
   I am shown my new room at the very end of the hall. The walls are painted yellow. They remind me of the dress Ryme was wearing when I first met her. The official asks me if I’m okay not having a roommate. If I don’t want to be alone he is certain a female official would be happy to sleep in the spare bed.
   No, I do not want to be alone. Awake, I am having trouble keeping Ryme’s lifeless eyes out of my head. Asleep, I will be defenseless to stop her from haunting me. Knowing I will be alone through the ordeal makes me want to curl up in
a ball.
   But Dr. Barnes’s words ring loud in my head. The Testing is about more than what happens in the classrooms. Asking for help through the night will be seen as a weakness. Leaders are not weak. The Testing is looking for leaders.
   So I thank the official and tell him, “I’m fine being alone.” He tells me to let the official at the desk know if I change my mind. They can even give me drugs if I need help sleeping. Then he shuts the door behind him.
   I look around the room. Aside from the color it is an exact replica of the one I previously occupied. I hear muted voices and the sound of footsteps. Other candidates returning to their rooms from dinner. For a moment, I consider opening my door and going in search of my friends. A smile from Zandri, a hand squeeze from Tomas, or even one of Malachi’s quiet looks would help ease the sadness. But I don’t open the door because that, too, could be considered a weakness. Instead I shower, change into my nightclothes, wash the daytime ones, and hang them to dry.
   Lying on the bed, I stare up at the ceiling, trying to conjure happy memories. Anything to ward off images of Ryme hanging from the light fixture. I can’t help but wonder whether my father witnessed something similar. Whether his brain had made up an even worse memory of The Testing to compensate for the horrific one he used to have. At this very moment, I believe it is more than possible.
   Everything is quiet. The others have taken to their beds and are sleeping in preparation for whatever is to come tomorrow. I am still awake. I keep the lights blazing bright and fight against the heaviness of my eyes. I am losing the battle when something catches my eye. A small circular glint in the ceiling. One that matches the one I saw in the skimmer.
   A camera.
   It is all I can do to keep the discovery off my face. I don’t know why it should surprise me that there is a camera watching even when we are doing the most mundane chores like sleeping and getting dressed. But it does. Is this room alone being watched? Because I found Ryme? Immediately, I reject the idea. If they are watching one room, I am certain they are watching them all. The implication of that sucks the air out of my lungs. If there are cameras in every room, someone watched Ryme as she stripped her bed of the sheet. Tied it to her dress. Reasoned out the best place to affix it to the light fixture on the ceiling. They watched as she stepped off the chair. Saw her struggle against the rope, claw her throat in an attempt to free herself, and go limp as her body shut down.
   They could have saved her. Instead, they let her die.
   I force myself to appear calm as I walk over to the light switch and cast the room into shadows. Whoever is watching, I don’t want them to see the horror I feel. I bury my head under the covers and out of habit clutch my bag to my chest. I wonder if the people behind the screen are reliving Ryme’s death while they sleep tonight. It is mean of me, but I hope they are because I am even before sleep pulls me under.
   Ryme’s blotchy red face and her glassy, blood-streaked eyes follow me into my dreams. Her voice taunts me with my inadequacies. She offers me corncakes and this time I take one and eat it. Each time I wake, I force myself to go still. Not to call out or thrash about. I keep my head under the covers just in case the camera can see more than I believe, and do my best to wipe my mind clean of the horrors before dropping into sleep again.
   When the morning announcement comes, I am grateful to climb out from under the sheets. I go into the bathroom and study myself in the reflector. I look tired, but no more so than I did yesterday morning. Taking this as a good sign, I pull on my clothes and brush out my hair while scanning the bathroom for prying eyes. No cameras. At least none that I can see. The Testing officials must not be interested in our hygiene habits. I leave my hair loose around my shoulders, hoping it will pull focus from the fatigue in my eyes, grab my bag, and head down to breakfast.
   Tomas and the twins are already seated when I arrive. Tomas’s face is filled with relief and he wraps me in a tight hug before I have a chance to sit down. As I sit, Tomas gives my plate a long look. In my effort to appear normal, I have piled it with bacon, eggs, sliced potatoes, fruit, and sweet rolls. I immediately shove a piece of bacon into my mouth to discourage questions about yesterday. It works until Zandri, Malachi, and their roommates arrive. Once everyone is seated, Tomas asks, “Is everything okay? We kept waiting for you to come back last night.”
   They wait for me to reply. I replay Dr. Barnes’s words in my head. Did he mean for me to keep silent? I don’t think so, so I quietly say, “Ryme is dead. She killed herself last night.”
   The Five Lakes candidates show various degrees of surprise. The twins sigh and give each other knowing looks. After a moment, Will says, “We figured it might be something like that. Our teacher warned us about the pressure. He was a Testing official for a couple of years and said there were at least two or three suicides in every Testing class.”
   Ryme was one. I can’t help wondering who might be next. Judging by their silence, I’m guessing my friends are doing the same.
   We talk about it a bit then concentrate on eating. I give some of my extra food to Malachi, who has definitely added on pounds since coming here three days ago, and shove a sweet roll into my bag. I don’t know if we are supposed to take food from the dining hall, but I figure if someone on the other side of the cameras objects, they’ll stop me. No one does.
   Another announcement is made. We tromp to the elevators and are whisked back to the lecture hall. Dr. Barnes is once again up front. He smiles at everyone as they take their seats and congratulates us on finishing the first phase of The Testing. “The tests are currently being evaluated by the Testing staff. Because we are aware of your unique skills, each group has its own set of requirements to achieve a passing score. After lunch we will meet with the Testing candidates and inform them whether they have been passed on or whether their Testing has come to an end. Until then, you will have time to spend as you like—either in your rooms, the dining hall, or the designated area outside.”
   Outside. The idea of fresh air lifts my spirits. Dr. Barnes tells us that all candidates going outdoors must stay within the fence surrounding the Testing Center. Breaking the rule is grounds for automatic dismissal from further Testing.
   Candidates shift in their seats, getting ready to bolt for the door, when Dr. Barnes’s expression changes. There is sadness. And though I am prepared for his words, my breath still catches and my eyes mist with tears. “I am sorry to announce that Testing candidate Ryme Reynald took her own life last night.”
   Some students gasp and cry out, but I notice more than one sly smile that says, One down. I try to remember the faces that go with those smiles just in case.

What People are Saying About This

"Action-packed and full of twists, The Testing will keep you guessing until the very last page—and desperate for the next book!" —Erica O"Rourke, author of the Torn Trilogy


Customer Reviews

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The Testing 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 254 reviews.
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
Whenever a book becomes hugely popular, there are bound to be a lot of copy cat books that occur. With the huge success of The Hunger Games, the market has been inundated with dystopian books targeted to the Young Adult market. In that respect, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is no different from the rest. It is definitely a book based on the very successful formula used in the Hunger Games trilogy. There are, however, some differences. These differences, coupled with the author's obvious talent for writing, make this one copy cat that is well worth the read.  The Seven Stages War has left the Earth devastated. It is in this environment the the new United Commonwealth finds itself trying to survive. To meet this goal, the UC needs to discover the best and the brightest that its various colonies have to offer. Their talents and skills, along with a coveted education at The University, are needed to rebuild the Earth. To aid this process, the government of the UC has devised The Testing.  Like the Hunger Games and others, the story in The Testing relies on Young Adult protagonists who are thrown into a do or die situation which they must navigate by using their skills and intellect. Another similarity to most of the books of this type, their is romantic interest between some of the characters. The most important similarities to the Hunger Games, though, is the author's ability to craft characters that the reader can identify with. People that you want to win and survive. In addition, the author's ability to tell the story in an engrossing, intriguing way that draws the reader in is another similarity.  To me, though, the similarities that this book had to the others, especially the Hunger Games, were less important than what it had that its differences. Although survival is a big part of this story, it is not the only attribute that is important. For example, I really liked the way that The Testing was structured. I found the author's use of testing environment that looked at the participant's academics, decision making abilities, problem solving skills, and team work skills, set this story apart. The fact that the characters needed more to accomplish their goals than just survival skills was more to my liking. In addition, I really liked the way that the author included the understanding of several scientific abilities in the main characters arsenal, and the fact that they were able to discuss these abilities amongst themselves. There were some other differences that I particularly liked as well, but most of them were things that would spoil the story if I listed them. All of these differences, though, went a long way toward allowing me to feel that this story had its own identity.  Even though I knew where this book was heading, could guess most of the twists, and was not surprised by any of the situations, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. In fact, I found it as enjoyable as the Hunger Games and think that the fact that the stories are so similar one of the things that I particularly enjoyed. Reading this story felt like visiting an old friend, but yet there was plenty to discover at the same time. I give it 4 stars. 
Tina_Chan More than 1 year ago
Review:  Okay, before I begin my rant on The Testing, please hear me out. First of all, The Testing was written very well—under normal circumstances I would’ve adored The Testing. But here’s the catch—I read The Hunger Games before I read The Testing and that basically screwed everything up. There were so many parallels between The Testing and The Hunger Games it wasn’t even funny. Now get this—I loved reading The Hunger Games, so it would only be logical for me to like The Testing, right? Wrong—there were way too many similarities the first ¾ of the book for me to enjoy (the last ¼ was probably my favorite part since it was actually DIFFERENT!).   Half the time I noticed a similarity between the two books I felt like slamming my head against a wall. No joke. I know, I know—I probably sound wicked whiney and like one of those people complaining about The Hunger Games being a “rip off” of Battle Royal  (I apologize if you are one of those people). So I guess I should justify my mini rant. Below is a list of similarities between The Testing and The Hunger Games.   Hunger Games: country is split into districts with one capital The Testing: country is split into colonies with one capital Hunger Games: each district specializes in one occupation The Testing: each colony specializes in one field of science Hunger Games: children from each district are selected to participated in the Games The Testing: children from colonies are selected to participate in the Test Hunger Games: participation is mandatory The Testing: participation is mandatory Hunger Games: main character is Katniss who is thrown into the Games with a guy from her district named Peeta The Testing: main character is Cia who gets thrown into the Test with a guy from her colony named Thomas Hunger Games: silver parachute brings Katniss supplies The Testing: brown cloth bag thrown over the fence brings Cia supplies Hunger Games: Peeta gets severely injured; Katniss heals him The Testing: Thomas gets severely injured; Cia heals him Hunger Games: mutts attack Katniss The Testing: weird animal/human hybrids attack Cia Hunger Games: Katniss protects Prim back in her district The Testing: Cia protects Daileen in her colony Hunger Games: Katniss buries Rue The Testing: Cia buries dead girl from some other colony Hunger Games: the capital is always watching them The Testing: the testing officials are always watching them Hunger Games: “May the odds ever be in your favor.” The Testing: “Best of luck.”   I think you get my point…But this book is not without merits. The writing was good—just enough descriptions to get by but not too much so that it bogs down the book. All of the characters were likable enough, though I just couldn’t seem to connect with Cia. I think that she  is maybe…I don’t know…too perfect? Is that even possible? There was definitely one unexpected twist at the end of the book…actually , two unexpected events I totally did not find coming, so bravo to the author for that!   I would recommend this book if you enjoyed The Hunger Games and don’t mind reading a book that is in the same genre and has a similar plot line.   Likes: * The writing was well done and was suitable for the theme of the novel             *likable characters Dislikes: *way too much like The Hunger Games             *could not connect to main character
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
If you’ve read any other reviews about The Testing, you’ve probably already heard the comparison between it and The Hunger Games trilogy. It was one of the very first things I heard about it. “If you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll like The Testing.” Well, I like The Hunger Games, but I didn’t think it was fair to try to compare this book to it. It’s bound to happen, though. There’s so many similarities that it would be hard not to compare the two. While there are similarities between the two, there are enough differences between the two that it doesn’t seem like you are reading the same story over again with different names and whatnot. I’ll say I agree with the statement, though. If you liked The Hunger Games trilogy, there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy The Testing. I know I did. I felt like the first few chapters moved a bit slowly. Since they are building up some of the background to the good stuff, I don’t feel like it really brings the story down. Once the story picks up, a few chapters in, it doesn’t stop. When the story picked up for me, the book was really hard to put down. It sucked me in and didn’t let me go, even when the book ended (mostly because the story isn’t over). I’m really looking forward to reading the next book and finding out more about The Testing. ***This book was received in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone who enjoyed Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games or Veronica Roth's Divergent will love The Testing. It is extremely refreshing that there is no love triangle business. Cia's voice is clear and the characters are believable. The plot is good and fairly fast-paced and action-packed, and you will find yourself cheering for Cia all the way. This novel us for someone with a taste for adventure as well as a touch of love & betrayal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. There were so many twists that I had to keep reading to find out what happens next. I really like that the main character was very observant. I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you loved Hunger Games and Divergent, you'll love this series! Very well written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this dystopian read. I was afraid it was gonna be a a cheap rip off of The Hunger Games but honestly I thought it was better and I can't wait to finish the series to find out what happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. People should stop saying it is just like the hunger games tho. That is misleading and immediatly gives others the impression that its a inferior knockoff. Luckily my sister told me otherwise or else my june would have been far more boring. The way i look at it is they are part of the same genre (dystopian society) but they are both different more than they are alike. So what i can say is if you, like me, enjoy this dystopian genre that has emerged and taken over the scene than you will really enjoy this book. Its plot is unique while some of its concepts bring you back to other books in this genre that have captured our hearts like The Hunger Games, Legend, and Divergent. It is truly a must read. I find the main character to be smart and relatebly naive. Without being annoying in the slightest. This is a story about Trust.
SunMtnReviews More than 1 year ago
The setting is in the future, where the United States no longer exists due to The Seven Stages War.  Now there is a new government in place that has divided the remainder of the population into colonies.  In order to go on for higher education, students must be selected as a Testing Candidate. Malencia  or Cia Vale is excited to be chosen along with three fellow graduating students from Five Colonies to travel to the capitol of Tosu City to undergo the Testing process. Those who pass the four intensive parts of the Test are allowed to move forward and attend the university.  The government has established the Testing in order to find the most qualified future leaders of the country.  As Cia prepares to leave home, a disturbing conversation with her father puts her on alert. Cia’s dad underwent The Testing years ago, although he no longer retains any memories of what happened during the testing process.  His memories were erased. Apparently, this is done to prevent any one candidate from having an edge over the other. However, CIa’s father admits that over the years, he has had haunting dreams about experiences he doesn’t recall, but thinks these are memories that weren’t completely erased and are The Testing is a fantastic YA dystopian read that captured my interest from beginning to end.  subconsciously submerging. He gives Cia the ominous warning to trust no one.  Cia is an admirable heroine in this story. She is remarkably intelligent, observant, and resourceful as she struggles to advance to each level of Testing, after realizing the seemingly innocuous Test is anything but safe. More importantly, unlike some other candidates , Cia refuses to sacrifice her humanity and compassion for others in order to achieve success. She and former classmate Tomas Endress decide to work as partners as much as possible to support each other in completing the tests. The Testing Officials have created an environment in which the competition is deadly and sabotage is just part of this sinister endeavor to weed out the weak.  Those who admit weakness or seek out help, never return. Those who fail at each level of the test are never seen again.  There are some parallels to The Hunger Games, and I couldn’t help but to be reminded of this during the field component of the Test, where each person is given a choice of weapons and supplies to help them as they are dropped off in the wilderness and forced to survive the harsh terrain as well protect themselves against candidates who are seeking to eliminate their competition. However, this story has its own unique storyline that is equally engaging.   Throughout the story, Cia was never sure who she could trust, and as the plot progresses, she finds herself second-guessing her choices, as do readers.  During the field test, Cia and Tomas work together to find their way back to the capitol city. In the midst of the danger that surrounds them, their attraction deepens into a romance. Tomas seems like a great guy for Cia, but after the test is over, she discovers secrets that Tomas has been keeping from her. Is he as trustworthy as she thinks?  The cliff-hanger ending was foreshadowed earlier in the story, but, nevertheless, the outcome shocks Cia and will have a significant impact on what she decides to do next. The governmental system is strict, but will Cia be able to follow her destined path?  I look forward to the sequel, The Testing: Independent Study.  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher  in exchange for an honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book, I can't wait for the 2nd one If you loved the hunger games and other Dystopian novels you will LOVE this !
Jam0 More than 1 year ago
The plot was decent enough, but hard to really buy. If the characters were engaging I could've forgiven the flaws in the plot. One of the main characters even has this to say about the plot: "I mean, why the hell would the Testing officials bring us all here just to kill us? It doesn't make any sense." No, Tomas, it doesn't make sense, and I am asking myself the same thing. Despite my better judgment, I was curious about this book. The plot sounded like "Post-apocalyptic setting with a fight-to-the-death ACTs." I should have listened to the reviews that call this a carbon-copy of The Hunger Games except most people want to be tested after they finish their schooling, as opposed to being Reaped and knowing you'll probably die. Which brings me to my next problem with this book. The whole testing process is really just a college entrance exam. Through inaction, the university essentially encourages the participants to lie, cheat, steal, and even kill. To them, death is a result of being wrong about something and if you died because you accidentally ate a poisonous plant, or another participant murders you, well, you should've been CONSTANTLY VIGILANT and not been killed, so the school wouldn't have wanted you anyway. Just. WHAT IS THAT. WHAT EVEN IS THAT. Beyond that, though, I'm not sure how this impacts the rest of the nation. Maybe not every colony is 100% equal to the others in terms of wealth, but I really do not think of this as a dystopia. The colonies are thriving for the most part. Leadership is encouraging research to improve the world from all the devastation of wars and natural disasters. Certainly there is some really shady things going on in their government (such as the, you know, violent university entrance exam process and punishment by death if you do not go if you're picked, even though it appears most everyone hopes to get picked). There is no indication that beyond the testing process that the leadership and government are oppressing their citizens; they are not (as far as we know at this point in the story when the book ends) taking all the colonies' wealth for themselves and making them live in terror. They genuinely want to improve things, it seems. So it's baffling to me that the testing process is even a thing. I could have overlooked the flawed logic if the characters were at least compelling, but I felt like I was reading void sacks of skin take tests then try to kill each other. Seriously. Not a single character evoked any emotion from me. The romance felt flat and bland and had zero chemistry or passion going for it. I could not care any less about any of the deaths or plot twists or anything. I don't think I've read a book that lacks emotion and feeling more than this one, except maybe No Safety in Numbers. Go read The Hunger Games instead. Cia and Tomas are definitely no Katniss and Peeta. If there weren't so many similarities between the two series I wouldn't go there, but the main plots of The Testing follow THG almost step-for-step, and maybe here imitation is not the most sincere form of flattery.
animeaddict95 More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book I only had moderate expectations of it; however, I poured through the first two books in a day! It's an amazing series, but I wish I would've took my time reading it because the third book isn't released until this summer! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked the hunger ganes this is the book for you! Att first I was concerned it would be too much like the hunger games, but it really wasn't all that similar. Anyway it was a great book and I'm counting the days until the next comes out.
krosie93 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! This was on my suggested list when I finished the Divergent Trilogy and I am so glad I picked it up! You get to read about Cia's adventures of trying to pass The Testing in order to get in the post-apocalyptic nation's University, but it isn't as simple or easy as it seems. In fact, we learn rather quickly that being chosen for The Testing is far from it, endangering lives just to ensure only the brightest and ruthless leaders come out of it. It involves smarts, survival, trust, and a tiny bit of romance that will keep readers turning the pages. Love, love, love this book and can't wait for the next installment!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is so good you will never want to put it down!
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I want to thank Houghton Mifflin Children's Books for sending me a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I had received a copy on Net Galley but was unable to read it and the publisher was nice enough to send me a hard copy! Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review. Blurb from Goodreads: 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. So, who wouldn't want to try a book that is billed as the next Hunger Games? I loved The Hunger Games, so I jumped at the chance to give this one a try. Even read the blurb of this one, which I usually don't do, to see what it was all about. I have to say the concept really intrigued me for sure. I was really excited to finally get into another dystopian, as I haven't read one that has truly pulled me in since The Hunger Games. The cover of this book is very simple. Once you read it, you understand what is pictured. I understand the want to go with something simple, but I feel like there could have been a bit more to it. It suits the book fairly well but I really would have liked more. I will tell you now that if you are looking for a book that very much mimics The Hunger Games, this is it. It is eerily similar to a fault, to be honest. The characters names are different, but the concept of children fighting for survival and being pitted against each other rings throughout the book. I was actually a bit disappointed in the fact that there really wasn't much of a difference and truly wonder if the author has gotten her ideas straight from those books.There is even a scene where the main character climbs into a tree to sleep; certainly I pictured Katniss in my mind (from both the book and movie) when this scene occurred! Malencia Vale (Cia) is an interesting enough character. She's fairly strong and definitely resilient. And she shows the smarts that are needed to be part of the testing. But unlike Katniss she wants to be chosen for the testing believing the testing will help her advance to university where she will learn to heal her broken world. Of course the corrupt government has other ideas, though we are never told their true reasoning behind the testing. We do know they want to find the most fit candidates to attend the University and help heal the destruction that has occurred due to the past wars. But the underlying tone, which Cia quickly picks up on, is that there is more to it then they are telling her. She, however, doesn't try to figure out what it is. I do understand that her will is more to survive so she can cross the finish line, but it just doesn't seem like she even cares to try and figure out what lies beneath the government's plan. Tomas Endress, well, he seems like he's hiding something from the beginning. I just didn't trust him. And, while he and Cia have some sort of history having grown up together, their attraction seems kind of forced and doesn't evolve as I would like. The relationship also seems almost out of place in the landscape Charbonneau paints. I can't picture what Tomas looks like in my mind, which drives me bonkers. I know he has a dimple, but that is all I can honestly remember after having read the entire book with him in most of the scenes! He isn't someone I would remember in the future, nothing about him stands out and makes me want to remember him, either. As for the supporting characters, they seem to just be there. Again, I feel no connection with any of them. I don't feel any emotion for them at all. And I have no idea what any of them truly looks like. I would have also liked to see more about the relationship between Cia and her brothers. I thought for sure, after reading the prequel, that we would get a bit more about Zeen (her oldest brother) and why it is that he and Cia are so close. But I don't really get anything at all about their relationship. And he actually disappears during what I would have thought would be the most important time for Charbonneau to have him in the book. I can tell that Cia has a good repore with her father. He trusts her and reveals secrets to her he feels she is sure to keep. This is the only relationship in the book that truly struck my interest. So, as you can tell, I wan't completely thrilled with the cast of this book. I will tell you why I could not connect with them: this book is almost all narration from the main character's point of view. I understand the need to build a world, but Charbonneau has long paragraphs of narrative that completely take me out of the story. There is barely any dialogue between characters. This caused my inability to understand their relationships with one another. Everything I learn about them is from Cia's POV. I really would have liked to see them through dialogue and interaction. But it just was not there. When dialogue does appear, for the most part it is short and quipped, which would not be so bad except it would maybe consist of three or four lines before once again going back into long narratives from the MC's POV.  Another point of contention was the speeches that were made by the governmental officials They were LONG. It totally took me out of the story. I actually had a very hard time finishing some of them and would often have to back track to understand what the character was talking about. It was very distracting. Remember the kids in The Hunger Games traveled by trains to Capital City? Well in The Testing it is a smaller group of kids traveling in some kind of hover craft type vehicle on their way to the capital city. Again, the similarity is still there. As if there is a cookie cutter outline and Charbonneau has taken it and added her ideas. And I'm not feeling the total dystopian landscape that really needs to exist to understand how the people might be suffering. The children get schooling, everyone seems to be well fed, they are not dirty, they live well enough and people seem to have jobs. I just don't get how the destruction has decimated these people's lives. So, these kids are thrown into a race to a finish line, meeting up with each other along the way, and often getting into violent confrontations. Yup, certainly reminded me of The Hunger Games. However, in The Hunger Games, the characters had reason to be violent and even kill one another. The Testing officials tell the candidates whoever makes it back will be interviewed for their final admission to university. They really don't give the candidates much of a reason to be killing each other. Sure, by offing their competition there are less of them to finish thus decreasing the risk of not being chosen for university. However, I just didn't feel like there was enough reason for them to be picking each other off.  Finally, and I cannot say this enough, there are barely any specifics given in this story. It just kind of chugs along as the kids move through the barren dystopian landscape and try to survive. Since there are no real relationships formed, we hardly get an idea of their fear or any other emotion they might have as they experience this harsh landscape and watch the other candidates go down. And since we have no real idea of why the wars happened, other than the people having not been intelligent enough, it's hard to understand what they are even racing towards. In conclusion this book is full of plot holes, poor character development, and no explanations of why things are the way they are. The story line is weak and so closely resembles THG, I could not help but picture those characters as I read along. And I did not want that. I wanted something new and different. Something that would grab me and drag me, have me wanting more. Something that I would not be able to put down. This was not that book. Will fans of THG like this series, perhaps. If they can put aside the fact that it is pretty much a carbon copy of what they already know. Otherwise, I say skip it and just wait for Catching Fire to come out in the theaters so you can happily continue to follow those characters as you did with the books. It's a shame, really, because the story line does have some potential. 2/5 stars.
Patito_de_Hule More than 1 year ago
Cia wishes more than anything that she will be chosen for the testing procedure - leading to a university education. But the testing procedure turns out to be more than she'd bargained for. The other kids are literally cut-throat competitors, and the testing officials are cruel and calculating. Will Cia be able to hang on to the person she is and still pass the test? Does she even want to pass the test anymore? What dire consequences really do follow failure? This book was a fantastic addition to the popular young adult dystopia genre. It took me a little while to get in to the story because there was little to distinguish it from all the other YA dystopias I've read lately, but after about 50 pages I was really sucked in and wanted to know where Charbaonneau was taking the story. I had an inkling what might happen in the end - sort of a "wow, I hope it goes in this direction, because that would make the next two books really interesting." And it DID go in that direction. So, the ending wasn't unpredictable, but it was unique, and I was in suspense for the entire book which way it would go. I hope she really works that aspect in the second and third books. To me, that's the aspect that will make this trilogy stand out from the crowd. Another thing I liked is that although there's potential for a love triangle, that aspect wasn't focused on. As I'm really tired of the triangle, the lack thereof was very refreshing. I hope the trilogy stays that way. The violence might be a bit off-putting to some young readers, but I'd say it's about the same as The Hunger Games - maybe a little less. Overall, a fun quick read. I hope this trilogy is popular. :)
mishaderdiger More than 1 year ago
Awesome book it was a great plot would also recommend the 5th wave kinda of the same idea. Different authors but they do think alike.
Ayla Beck More than 1 year ago
It was very much like most dystopian YA books. This world’s “apocalypse” is very likely, and that’s what gets me interested in this genre. I love being able to figure out where they take place, and the author helps you figure it out by telling some of the major cities. I love that the romance isn’t too overpowering, like some YA books are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recommended dystopian read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is easily one of my favorites. It has a bit of a hunger games/divergent dystopian feel to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sooooooo goood!!!!!
Jessica_Mendoza More than 1 year ago
Joelle Charbonneau really did an amazing job with The Testing. This isn't like other dystopian society related books. This is a lot more intense and interesting. When books like these come out including The Hunger Games and Divergent and The Uglies it's the same old story. But The Testing has many different components that make it different. I would say it is very brutal and thrilling. Cia Valencia is a female teen protaginist like many other dystopian books, but she is also different. You can see a big change in her character from the very beginning of the book to the very end. She becomes much more vicious and comes out of that shy girl, goody- too- shoes shell she's been in for a long time. She is a very intelligent young adult and does whatever it takes to make things right and to protect those who she cares for. the brutality of the tests that Cia and her friends have to go through just to have the opportunity to go to college and become someone important in the United Commonwealth makes this book even more interesting. All the plot twists and things you don't see coming make you want to keep flipping the pages anticipating for what's coming next. Trust me as soon as you start reading this book it will be too difficult to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God book