June 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Testing by: Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by: Joelle Charbonneau (June 4, 2013)
336 pages
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books
Source: I received a free copy from Houghton Mifflin Books for my honest review.
Goodreads Summary: 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 Review

The Testing is a dystopian novel that will give you something to talk about. A gripping read with a heroine that can outsmart the best of them. The Testing shouldn’t be passed up, plunge in and take a deep breath, you will feel the stress of the characters as they embark on The Testing, the hardest test they will ever take. Sharpen your pencils and prepare to fight for your life.

Some may say that the parallels between The Testing and The Hunger Games are too similar, but being a huge Hunger Games fan this didn’t bother me, because I loved The Hunger Games so why wouldn’t I love a book that is similar? There are still enough unique elements in The Testing that the similarities shouldn’t bother you, if anything it should make you love the book even more, but everyone is different.

You know that saying, curiosity killed the cat? Oh boy, I was so overly curious about everything going on in this novel right there with the characters, and sure enough curiosity can get you killed in The Testing. They just want you to follow their rules and play their game. Step out of line and who knows what is waiting for you on the other side.

The female heroine, Cia, is everything you could want in a strong central character. She is clever, nice, strong, and will do anything and everything to survive. I was rooting for her from day one and was awed by her cleverness and how well she played the game. Although her love interest, Tomas, isn’t overly amazing and their relationship is somewhat strange at times, he still adds a little something to the story. Cia’s family is an interesting bunch and I wish we would have had more time with them, I think her father holds the key to some of the secrets surrounding the government and their test. There are several other minor characters and all I can say about them, be careful about who you trust.

The Testing is filled with suspense and action. My palms were sweaty and I was on high alert while reading the whole book. Be warned, some of the scenes are brutal and bloody. There are several WTF moments and many moments where I had to ask myself, did that just happen? Don’t worry, although this is an intense novel, there are several points of humor done well and used when needed to add some comic relief.

Oh and the ending will have you wishing the next book was already out. I have no idea how I’m going to be able to wait a year before the next book. The Testing turned out to exceed my expectations and give me hope in the dystopian genre. Heck, the second book may even be better from the first, and that is saying something. Although this novel isn’t perfect I still feel the need to give it five stars because I enjoyed it so much.

So what are you waiting for? Get a copy of The Testing and see for yourself how this new dystopian trilogy is better than many.

** Thanks Houghton Mifflin Books for an ARC copy of The Testing!


  1. I think you were right, Kay, this definitely sounds right up my alley! I especially love books where the protagonist questions everyone, even those closest to him/her. The premise kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games meets The Maze Runner.

    1. It was such a good book and you are exactly right about it reminding you of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. The main character is so clever, I love her!

  2. OK this is going to be first I think, but I'm in the middle of this one and so far I disagree :/ The similarites to the Hunger Games are just insane! At least at the point I'm at right now, I feel like this one hasn't distinguished itself at all. I'm hoping this is going to veer off into newer/unique territory, but I do have almost 200 pages left to go, so perhaps I haven't read enough to really appreciate this story -- we shall see!

    1. I totally know where you are coming from. It is very similar at times and I have read many reviews that were not a fan of that. I just enjoyed it so much it didn't bother me. I still can't wait to read your review! We are allowed to disagree...sometimes. ;-)

  3. I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK. Gah everyone's reviews are getting me so excited AND GUESS WHAT I happened to pick up the sequel at BEA. And on the subject of BEA, you should try and go next year :) I have no idea where you live but if it is in the US start saving now for that plane ticket! IT IS SO WORTH IT!

    1. You have the sequel?! Omg so jealous! I can't wait to see what you think of this. I have heard a lot of great things and a few that didn't like it so much. Also, I am really planning to go to BEA next year and I would love to meet you!

  4. Glad you liked The Testing too. I thought it was pretty amazing, and the tension-Oh man! I thought Cia was such a likeable character and can't wait to see what happens next. Great review :)

    1. Cia is one of my favorite characters now. She was just so clever! I'm glad you liked it too. I can't wait for the next one. :)

  5. Oh wow. I expected you to think it was alright based on thie other review I read. From your perspective it sounds awesome. I also love the Hunger Games and don't mind a book that is similar. Although Tomas and her weren't that great together I think I could overlook it because of the suspense. I love when books keep me on the edge of my seat (:

  6. Wonderful review, you can tell you really liked this. Reviews are all over the place for this one. I have it and hope to read it soon..you have given me hope!

  7. I'm not so sure how I feel about this being SOOO similar to The Hunger Games =/ I think that would really bother me, but at the same time I don't want to miss out on another book as awesome as The Hunger. Thanks for the warning about the blood and guts I like to know stuff like that.

  8. I am just about to write my review for this, and I procrastinated by checking out your blog, and WHAM! I stumble upon this. A not so subtle kick in the pants to get on it. I really liked this one too, and I agree that while it has some similarities to the Hunger Games, it stands on its own. Great review!



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