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Test by William Sleator
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House of Stairs was one of the creepiest YA books I ever read; unfortunately, this recent Sleator didn’t do the same for me (though it’s possible that my tastes have changed). In a world where only the bubble test determines whether you’ll have a job that allows you to escape from the constant traffic (unless you’re in private school and don’t have to take the test) and whether your teachers will keep their own jobs, a young immigrant trades his complicity in unlawful and dangerous acts by a landlord in return for answers to the test; meanwhile, his classmate is under threat because of her father’s acts to protect the tenants. Add in a stereotypical rich bitch, daughter of the landlord/test king, not as pretty as the heroine and prone to making recordable threats, and you have the basis for a challenge to the whole system…. Even though journalism is corrupt and only interested in running slapfight stories. The story’s neatness makes it somewhat incoherent, is what I’m saying. There is something to seeing “No Child Left Behind” treated like the Orwellian slogan it is, though. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 26, 2013 |
I read about 2/3 of this, and I'm not really inclined to finish it up. I don't care about the main character, or her friend, or the Rich Girl we flash to periodically. I don't know if this is supposed to be a scathing response to No Child Left Behind, or a tongue-in-cheek one. The writing oscillates between lackluster and poor.

This is a huge disappointment to me. I didn't expect to love this book, but as a kid I loved Sleator's books, starting with the creepy-dollhouse story Among the Dolls and culminating in House of Stairs, which I still fondly remember as being one of the best psychological horror stories of my youth. I'm afraid to re-read those classics, because every time I've so much as glanced at one of Sleator's more recent titles, they just sound awful.

Blah, sigh, and grumble. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
I liked the indictment of the ridiculous No Child Left Behind crap, but the story left me wanting more... ( )
  clarasayre | Mar 30, 2013 |
This could be an important book simply because of how it examines the question of how the standardized test fits into education. The author, quite obviously, does not believe in the "test" being everything. He takes it to an extreme making a student's entire future dependent on the passing of this test. The scary thing is, the isn't too far of a stretch.

For me, as a teacher, the way the classroom has been changed into a training ground for the writing of the test is the strongest part of the book. No-one wants to be in that classroom. Not the teachers, and especially not the students. And yet all of them are there at the whim of the government.

Is this the future of education? Has it already arrived? Or should we strive to make our classes more like Ms. Summer's class, where ideas can be explored and the minds of students engaged? To me the choice is obvious. ( )
1 vote rapago | Mar 1, 2011 |
It has been a number of years since I picked up a Sleator book. Although this novel Test, was written several years before, it may very well be of interest to readers who live survival type and changing society type novels. The book cover caught my interest and I wanted to see if it was somewhat in the vein of Hunger Games. Survival being the seemingly key phrase.

Set in an America in the future (one I do not think I would like living in) where testing determines what kind of a life high school graduates will live. Everything is geared to these tests. Unless you have power and money, this American is no place for anyone. Ann and her family are barely surviving, even if both parents are working. The working poor are at even more of a disadvantage. Ann is trying desperately to make sure she pass the senior XCAS in order to have a chance a better life. There is a boy in her class who is obviously an immigrant, but is doing surprisingly well with the practice tests. Ann wonders how Lep can do so well when his English is actually not very good.

Adding to her anxiety is the fact that her father is getting into trouble with his employer by trying to help the people (read poor and mostly immigrants) who live in the building in which he is employed. Things are getting so bad that it seems Ann is being targeted for harassment by a strange man riding a motorcycle. The more her father tries to help, the worse it gets. Finally Ann starts putting little pieces of odd coincidences together and figures out that the tests are being used to control the population. Once this happens and she starts asking questions, Ann is in even more danger.

The plot is an interesting one, I found that Sleator story lines are always just a little more outside the box. The characters are interesting but not necessarily ones that I found that sympathetic. I liked Ann's determination and willingness to sacrifice herself for the principles in which she believed. Lep's initial fear and then his show of bravery at the protest rang true. I think that readers will find Test interesting and can relate to the characters. I liked the upbeat ending to the story and even though it was somewhat contrived, I still like that the good guys come up on top. ( )
  hewayzha | Jan 20, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0810993562, Hardcover)

Pass, and have it made—fail, and suffer the consequences. A master of teen thrillers tests readers’ courage in an edge-of-your-seat novel that echoes the fears of exam-takers everywhere.

Ann, a teenage girl living in the security-obsessed, elitist United States of the very near future, is threatened on her way home from school by a mysterious man on a black motorcycle. Soon, she and a new friend are caught up in a vast conspiracy of greed involving the megawealthy owner of a school testing company. Students who pass his test have it made; those who don’t disappear . . . or worse. Will Ann be next?

For all those who suspect standardized tests are an evil conspiracy, here’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller that really satisfies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the security-obsessed, elitist United States of the near future, where a standardized test determines each person's entire life, a powerful man runs a corrupt empire until seventeen-year-old Ann and other students take the lead in boycotting the test.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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