The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau | Book Review #78


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 and 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.

First off, before I say anything about this book, I’m warning you about all the triggering things that happen in this book. There are triggers for: suicide, murder, and attempted murder. This unfortunately comes with the territory of Dystopian novels.

I gave The Testing 5 stars on GoodReads. The story is fast paced. And; not to mention, truly mesmerizing, in a frightening way. Once I started reading the book, what takes place after is pretty much go-go-go, non-stop.

The Testing drew me in so quickly. I read half of the book one night, and read the rest the following night. In The Testing we’re shown what people will do when they’re put to the extremes. We’re shown some truly horrifying stuff. A nice thing though, I have to admit, is that The Testing is from just one point of view, and that view is from Cia. And just to tell you where story takes place, the main character, Cia, is from the future near the Great Lakes area. So, Easter North America, in what I’m guessing is to be around 100 to about 250 years in the future.

OK, to get to know Cia a little bit. Cia (“see-uh” is how I pronounce her name), changes so much throughout the story. She not only grows as a person, but we see just how much character she actually has. There are scenes in the story where if I were in that story, I don’t think I would move on. Cia did though, not only because she did, but because she had to. Cia is strong in so many ways I can’t describe. In words, Cia is emotionally strong, loving, kind, clever, and generous. And when something scares the shit out of her, she finds a way to defend herself with what little she has. I have no idea if this will make sense, but Cia always, always, finds a way to carry on.

We see Cia being shaped by the environment she was placed in. What I actually like about this book is that in the beginning we get a feel for who she is, and who her family is. We see her with her brothers, and how they all fiercely love her, and how she loves them all back. And while Cia is being tested, we see just how much her family has shaped her to be. Her family is super smart, and that just shows through Cia throughout this whole book.

There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming in this story. Twists and turns that I didn’t want to see coming, or happening, but they did; and that’s alright. No matter how heart breaking, or angering they are. When someone says “Trust no one.”, YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THAT, OKAY?? It upsets me that things happened the way they did, but in this story, I just have to appreciate how everything turned out. Like, yeah, that happened. I should be glad that nothing worse happened in this book to these characters.

Speaking of all the characters, these kids were put to the extreme at all times. These kids practically tortured themselves because these higher up dudes expected them to perform that way. I actually have a note to myself saying “they’re torturing these children.” And they were. Not in the traditional sense though. These kids had to prove themselves worthy, or they would be taken off the course. I honestly couldn’t help but feel for all of these characters.

The best way to describe The Testing would be fore me to say that if the Hunger Games trilogy and the Divergent trilogy had a love child, The Testing would be the result of that love child.

If you want to see the light go out of someone’s eyes, then read this book. Not that we don’t actually see it, The Testing isn’t a movie.. But I could only imagine the light leaving Cia’s eyes. Honestly. It’s described in the book, but to have it happen again and again is just truly heart breaking. So I can only imagine what can happen next. Once you’ve read the book you’ll understand, but damn. Cia’s life is only going to get rougher with each book.

These characters have lived through some of the most darkest moments of their lives happen to them. And what happened at the end of the Testing will only have them haunted for the rest of their lives.

All in all though, I really enjoyed this book. The Testing shows how strong someone can be when they have to be. That’s both figuratively and literally. I like how the book showcased the fact that these kids are smart, cruel, and downright vicious. Even when they’re not provoked. I like the relationship that Cia has with everyone she meets. She truly cares for people.

Thank you for reading my review of The Testing! You can click on the cover below to be lead to The Testing on GoodReads.


Until next time,

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