January 23, 2014

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

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.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (first published 2013)

Other books in the series 

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)

Other books by the author

Skating Around the Law (Rebecca Robbins Mystery, #1)


I shall warn you beforehand. It is almost impossible for me to review this book, because I have no idea how to feel about it. Some voices inside of me scream a big huge FAKE, and, along with that a big huge FAIL and then I remind myself that there's nothing new on the book market anyway and there never will be and as long as you enjoy the story, does it really matter that you've read it before?

But writing just that and leaving you with it is too easy. 
I'm pretty sure that you've heard about the discussion around The Testing. About how it doesn't just look and sound like The Hunger Games, but actually IS the Hunger Games. Just. Different. 

I don't really understand why people would be this idiotic: 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Testing (The Testing, #1)

But apparently, they are. 
Also, The Testing is a book where a female heroine is one of the few people who enter a Testing, a series of tests (duh!) that are supposed to qualify only a handful of students to go to the University. 
During those tests, things get dangerous. 
Replace tests with games and you have a huuuge identity problem! 
Anyway, apart from the whole it sounds and looks like The Hunger Games thing - The Testing wasn't a bad story. At all. 
It created a MUCH higher level of suspense throughout - at least in my opinion - and the different tests people had to go through certainly were creative. The world building was lacking a bit, in my opinion. It was all very easy, a big war, a new governmental system, you know the gist. 
But the story had potential. The romance developed at a really nice pace. Not endlessly slow, not insta-love. 
And the ending certainly had me on the edge of my seat, turning every page, hungry for more and to see who would make it and who wouldn't. 

I think, looking at all the different aspects of the novel, the suspense is the most remarkable one. I'm not too easy to scare, but I preferred not reading The Testing at night - because it was so mysterious and dangerous at times. 

So, I am still not sure if it is worth a read. If you haven't read The Hunger Games, it surely is. Because the story itself might not be the most amazing one of all times, but ...welll...entertaining. However, if you have read The Hunger Games, beware! Not only is the synopsis too similar to feel comfortable, there are also many elements that I personally felt were - if not copied -then at least too similar to feel unique. 


  1. I've had this on my TBR list for a while now. I don't really mind often used tropes if the book is well done. As you said, it's kind of hard to think of something completely new. And The Testing does sound interesting, even in your review. So maybe after all, you HAVE made up your mind? ;-)

    Johanna @ Challenging Reads

  2. Your review is almost exactly like mine! I felt it was just too identical to The Hunger Games. But, like you said, it wasn't as if it wasn't worth reading. It did still have some differences. I went ahead and read the sequel as an e-galley, and found that it is worth going on in the story, as there are some major differences as you go on, and it does get better.

  3. I've had this on my TBR for awhile but I just haven't been that interested in actually picking it up. The synopsis did sound a little too similar and I've been over the dystopian genre for awhile now. It sounds like the writing isn't too bad, but I don't know if I really need to read a copycat type story. I think I will continue to pass on this one for now, but I may pick it up in the future. Great review!


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