Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: The Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: Book One in the Testing Series
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Books For Children (June 4, 2013)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Dystopian
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:

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.

My Thoughts and Review:

I honestly wasn't prepared for how much I was going to enjoy this story. It felt very reminiscent of the Hunger Games at first and that made me a little sad to be honest. I love the Hunger Games but I didn't want a copy of it, I wanted something more original than that.

Thankfully, I got just what I wanted. Yes there are similarities between this and The Hunger Games, but only similarities, nothing stolen, nothing copy catted. In fact, once you got down to the nitty gritty of it all there was a pretty original story line there. You just had to dig a little deep to find it but once there, it was quite the view.

I have been reading a lot of dystopians lately, maybe too many, so I wasn't exactly in the best frame of mind when I started this one. I was feeling a little burnt out on the genre and really not looking forward to reading another one. I know, I know, so not cool of me but, there you have it.

So of course you can imagine my surprise when not only did this one capture my attention, but it also managed to completely pull me out of my funk and give me something to look forward to every time I opened it up. I became pretty engrossed with the story and really  warmed up to Cia. She is pretty determined, helluva smart, feisty and she questions everything, something that kept her alive throughout the Testing, and she manages to do it all without coming across as a know it all or being so obnoxious I wanted to smack her.

I have to give the author some props, this was a dang good story with an intriguing action packed plot line and some engaging characters. I never knew whom to trust and it was never clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were, even up until the ending. I felt like the author would just bring us to the brink of figuring it all out and then pull us back with another unexpected twist or change in the storyline and once again we would have to work our way to the edge.

I love it when an author can take me by surprise and make me sad when the story is over and leave me wanting more and that is exactly what Charbonneau did and I can't wait for the next book so I can do it all over again.

*All Opinions are my own and I was in no way compensated for my review*


  1. I think you enjoyed this one a lot more than I did, and I'm glad. It reminded me too much of both Hunger Games and Enclave, and it just didn't reach me emotionally at all. Technically, I didn't see any major flaws, but emotionally, it just didn't work for me. I'm glad this was not the case with you.
    Great review.

  2. I am sorry to hear that Maja. I haven't read Enclave yet but I definitely saw the Hunger Games similarities.

  3. I have this one and will try and squeeze it in soon

  4. I been curious about this one since I saw a trailer for it! It did remind me a bit of The Hunger Games even from the trailer. I am looking forward to picking one of these up. Have been in the mood for one lately :D

  5. I'm excited to hear that this story was different enough from the Hunger Games to keep you interested. It certainly sounds like an entertaining premise, and I must admit when I first read the synopsis I thought Hunger Games ripoff. So happy it turned out to be better than that! I've got an ARC and now I'm excited to make some time and read it. Lovely review!

  6. @Lily, I have been loving dystopians lately!

    @ Lauren. I hope you do give it a try!

  7. Well, a HG copy isn't all bad, I am always up for a good dystopian. I think this would be worth a read.

  8. It is definitely different enough for Hunger Games to warrant a read Heidi!

  9. I remember seeing some less than stellar reviews of this but I think it's just my dystopian burn out that really was holding me back from having much interest in it. I'm really glad that in the end this one really did work for you. One day in the future I may consider reading it after all!

  10. This sounds so good. I downloaded it from NetGalley, but it was one of those that only went to the computer and not the Kindle, and I just couldn't sit in front of the computer to read it. I will have to get it when it comes out.

  11. Glad you enjoyed this one. Haven't seen many positive reviews for it. I kind of felt like this would be an SAT test from hell LOL Another reviewer said they go through a lot of crazy things for the test and then have their memory wiped of the test anyway so I wasn't sure I would like the story.

  12. 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.

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