Book Review: The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau

book cover the testing

In search of a new, innovative take on the dystopian genre, I stumbled across The Testing; the first installment of a trilogy that follows Cia Vale, a young student who is chosen to compete in a highly competitive program to attend the single University of the United Commonwealth.

The students at the University will become the next leaders in charge of containing the expansion of the Commonwealth and the revitalization of the nation. In order to weed out the best and brightest students for the task, the admittance policies for the University are insane; first students are hand selected from their colonies, then must pass a series of exams, before completing one final test: being sent out into the revitalized wild. There is no choice but to survive.

Cia Vale navigates the testing by using her intelligence and making new friends. She fears surviving the test, but above all remembering whom to trust once she completes the tests and has her memory wiped.

Joelle Charbonneau tells Cia’s story through unrelenting action and suspense. Although reading the story in its first person form can be tiring due to the lengthy transitions, the book was an overall good read, and has two very interesting sequels.

I recommend The Testing for anyone needing a new Young Adult book for the summer. If you’re looking for a book reminiscent of The Hunger Games with a captivating academic twist, The Testing is the book for you!