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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
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The Testing

by Joelle Charbonneau

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Upon graduating from school, Malencia "Cia" Vale of the Five Lakes Colony is chosen to take part in the Testing, the process by which young adults are selected to attend University. At first, she is overjoyed at the news, but her father privately tells her of his own vague memories of the Testing. He recalls explosions, screams, and death. He warns Cia not to trust any of the other candidates. Allowed to take three items from home, she chooses her brother Zeen's transit communicator, as she believes it will help her along the way.

Cia, along with classmates Tomas, Zandri, and Malachi, and testing official Michal Gallen, leave Five Lakes Colony for Tosu City, the capital of the United Commonwealth. This is what's left of the United States after an apocalyptic war leaving the balance of nature seriously destroyed. Cia notices their skimmer, (a method of travel), has hidden cameras that catch their every action and word. Once the group reaches Tosu City, Cia meets the other 108 Testing candidates vying for 20 open seats at University.

The first round of Testing is a number of written exams that test the candidates’ knowledge of history, math, and reading skills. Cia thinks she performed adequately, but her pretty roommate Ryme, tries to make Cia feel inferior further establishing the fact that that this venture is going to be extremely competitive.

During the second round of testing, the candidates perform deadly hands-on experiments. A single mistake means immediate death and narrows down the competition.

The third round of testing consists of a group problem solving exercise. While she waits for her turn, Cia realizes that team member Roman has planned to trick the others into disqualifying themselves. Though it is too late to save the other female candidate, she is able to warn Brick. After completion, Cia's finds her caution was correct, as the female candidate does not return to the Testing.

The fourth round of testing is a survival challenge. This part reminds me of The Hunger a Games. Candidates will have to find their way back to Tosu City, by any means necessary. Tomas concocts a plan to meet up with Cia at the tallest building left in the ruins of Chicago, the starting point of the exam. They are allowed to choose three items to take with them. Cia chooses a pistol, a water testing kit, and medical supplies. Has she chosen wisely?

Once the fourth round of testing begins, the enemy is not only nature, but mutated humans and animals. The most deadly predator though, is the other competitors and it seems everyone has chosen some type of deadly weapon.

Who will make it to University and will it be worth it?
( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
I have mixed emotions on this novel. It fits into the realm of most current Young Adult fiction and has a dystopian plot. Much like the Hunger Games and Divergent, there is a tough female heroine who is put into intense situations and has to survive. Malencia, aka Cia, lives in Five Lakes Colony with her family and hopes to be accepted for "the Testing" after graduation which also means she gets to go on to University and become a leader of the nation. No one from her colony has been chosen for this honor in a long time so it is a really big deal when Tosu city officials come and pick 4 candidates for "the Testing" this year. However, things are not as they seem (as in most Dystopian novels) and very quickly Cia realizes she has to be careful who she trusts.

What I liked about this novel: I really enjoyed Cia's character overall. She seems logical, reasonable, not necessarily very girly or boyish to any extreme. I guess I related to her because a lot of the thoughts she had, I could see myself having. I also like the premise of the novel. The idea that in order to get higher education, you have to be tested and prove yourself - which doesn't actually work out the way everyone plans. I am a fan of Hunger Games and Divergent, so this fit right in with what I've been reading lately.

However, there were several things I didn't like. I don't know that it made me hate the book or anything, but it took me out of the story. First of all, everything seems to happen very quickly once it happens. I don't mean the action necessarily. Just character's relationship building and their acceptance of certain things. Also there are places where the logic just didn't connect for me. Although, ask anyone from my family and they will tell you I tend to think so much, so maybe I am here as well. Here's an example: All Cia has wanted her entire life was to get chosen for "the Testing." She has studied and worked hard for that very purpose. Her family does not want her to get chosen, but don't really show this disapproval until she graduates and is close to that possibility. Also, once she is chosen her dad (who was a past testing candidate that succeeded) tells her that he doesn't remember what happened, but has bad dreams that he thinks are maybe memories from that time. If they are, then it says nothing good about what Cia is about to face. Instead of Cia at all questioning her dad, she just accepts that wow - she shouldn't have wanted this. Darn, now she has to go. Her life's goal is now her worst nightmare in the course of a 5 minute conversation.

Next, her one piece of advice from her dad was don't trust anyone. However, Cia trusts a boy from her town, Tomas, almost right away with her secrets, fears and worries. Throughout the novel, Tomas and Cia team up and help each other and I'm not sure if Tomas is a threat or not, but it seems weird that just because a handsome boy whom she flirted with once starts talking to her she suddenly goes against her dad's advice. Along with this, after just one hour together Tomas and Cia are teamed up, friends with a lot of flirting, and have a lot of "feelings" for each other. Apparently, they have a history of one shared dance together so that explains their attraction, but I'm not sure I buy it. As I read, I kept thinking - wait you aren't supposed to trust anyone. Why are you so sure Tomas is trustworthy? Why are you flirting??

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and wanted to keep reading. Even now, I am anxious to get my hands on the next novel in the series. But I think part of that is because I'm hoping the next novel will answer some of these relationship/continuity issues. It has a great premise and was an enjoyable read. I'm just not sure that it will make it onto my favorites list. ( )
  dingesa27 | Dec 6, 2016 |
Take The Giver, add some Hunger Games and a dash of Divergent and you have this book. Fast read but not my fav dystopian book. ( )
  pickleroad | Nov 10, 2016 |
Popular series with teens, similar to Divergent. When Cia is invited to The Testing to attend the University, her suspicions are raised when her friends who failed begin to dissappear.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Sep 28, 2016 |
I didn't dislike this book. Gave it four stars, in fact. But that being said, I really enjoyed it because it satisfied my desire for another Hunger Games-like dystopian. While the Hunger Games is pretty much its own category now days, I always enjoy a read that is like it. I do also look for a twist that makes a book its own storyline however, and this one ALMOST was too close to the HG. So while I really enjoyed the book, and if you are looking for something close to the HG, I think this one needed JUST a bit more to give it something of its own, a little bit more. ( )
  Krista_Rainwater | Sep 10, 2016 |
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For Stacia Decker, for so many reasons.
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Graduation Day. I can hardly stand still as my mother straightens my celebratory red tunic and tucks a strand of light brown hair behind my ear.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547959109, Hardcover)

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:07 -0400)

Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing.

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