PJV Quickie: A very exciting Young Adult Dystopian novel by Joelle Charbonneau, THE TESTING, is a great addition to the genre. Fast paced and believable, THE TESTING, while a smidge, predictable, was a good read and I look forward to reading on in the series.
YA Dystopian, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #1
Type: Young Adult Dystopian
Publication: June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Childre
Source: Book provided by publisher
Review: A dystopian tale, set in a world where survivors are relegated to city-states, ruled by a governing body called the United Commonwealth. The main character, Cia Vale comes from a smaller, prospering city-state and has led a very sheltered life. Cia dreams of being selected for The Testing, like her mother and father, even though her older brothers, who are just as smart, were not. As luck would have it, Cia is one of the first graduates, in a few years, that have been chosen for The Testing and she prepares to leave her home and join the other candidates to prove that she is worthy to go to University. Only the best and the brightest are chosen, and only the worthy will pass the testing and move on to University.
Yet, when she is chosen, her father makes a few cryptic statements and warns her to “trust no one” which she quickly realizes will be harder then she thought, especially when Tomas enters the picture.
I do have to say it — I have to compare it to THE HUNGER GAMES. It was a lot like the very popular series, in the fact that it is, One: Set in a dystopian environment. Two: It is about young adults competing in a controlled environment and failure results in death. The novel is not about kids killing kids, but it is a competition, brain, braun and motivation testing. If you fail any part of the testing, you are killed off.
I really enjoyed the story, but I wouldn’t say it compares to Collin’s THE HUNGER GAMES series. While, THE TESTING is action packed, fast-paced and full of intriguing discovery, it didn’t have that triumph factor to it, that, conquer, overcome and avenge factors that The Hunger Games implements so greatly. Charbonneau does a wonderful job of painting the dystopian environment, she sets the stage, explains the reasoning behind the plot and does a great job with exposition without the annoying “tell-me” tricks. But, while the set-up is great, the character of Cia wasn’t that, girl-against-world, character that I so enjoy in a dystopian novel. Cia was smart and resourceful, but the environment was out of her control and she spent a lot of time in the dark as things were revealed throughout the story. Don’t get me wrong, great character, but I felt the plot-lines were very strict and the paths set — which led me to believe there was no deviation from a set conclusion and in the end I was right, thus a predictable plot.
Overall a very competent young adult dystopian read that I highly recommend, Joelle Charbonneau is a beautiful writer and THE TESTING had me on the edge of my seat throughout it’s entirety. If you are a fan of the young adult dystopian genre, you’ll love THE TESTING.
Recommendations: I’m giving this a PG13 rating because of the violence. The novel is tame, recommended for 13+ teens that love Young Adult Dystopian. Fans of The Hunger Games type of novel should really enjoy.
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