Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Released: June 4, 2013
Series: Testing Trilogy #1
Page #: 344
Source: eARC from NetGalley
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.
First Lines: (Quoted from the e-galley - Subject to change.)
I can hardly stand still as my mother straightens my celebratory red tunic and tucks a strand of light brown hair behind my ear."
I was very intrigued when I got a NetGalley notice that I could view this book for a short period. The concept was right up my alley. I know that since Hunger Games became popular, the dystopian/crazy society books have blown up. Many have been compared, others have been based on it. I'm not sure what the thought process was with this one, but it's almost a carbon copy.
Cia lives in an area outside of the United Commonwelth. Every year, teens are chosen to come to the city for The Testing. They will test their skills, knowledge, and survival ability. The people who pass the testing get to go to the University and will become high ranking officials in the Commonwelth. But Cia didn't realize just what the testing would entail. And she finds herself trying to get the better of the ones in charge - tricking them to get ahead.
I didn't realize how many similarities to Hunger Games until I was over halfway through it. Okay, I know that it's not exactly the same. Some of the details are changed. It's not a fight to the death - but yes, teens do die/kill each other. Cia has a complicated relationship with a guy who goes through this experience with her. There are more, but I think you see what I mean.
There are some readers who are only interested in books that are exactly like their favorites. This book will definitely fill the hole for that kind of reader. It's fast paced and I truly wanted to find out what would happen. It had that feel of a good book - one that you can't really put down. But I had a hard time with the similarities to other titles to consider it fantastic. But it's well written and an engaging story.
When recommending this one, I believe it will come with that caveat. Just be aware of what you are getting into. But I do recommend this one to lovers of Hunger Games. You will find yourself rooting for Cia and her family. And I can only imagine what will happen next. I believe the second book is already being talked about - and I will be very interested to see what direction that goes.
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