Saturday, February 22, 2014

Charbonneau, Joelle. The Testing.

Charbonneau, Joelle.  The Testing.  Houghton Mifflin  2013  344p  $17.99      ISBN 978-0-547-95910-8    ms/hs  Science fiction  E-BN    

Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) is graduating early and dreams of being selected for The Testing.  Those who pass The Testing advance to a college education. This is a much sought-after endeavor, since the Seven Stages War has left most of the planet a deserted wasteland.  Those selected pursue a higher degree and career in order to advance agriculture, engineering, and ultimately life on earth.
Cia resolves herself to the reality that she has not been chosen.  However, it turns out that there has been a delay of the administrator sent to deliver the section news, and thus the selected are informed the day after the actual graduation.  Upon her selection, Cia’s father warns her to trust no one, as he has been plagued with bad dreams since his memory was erased after his completion of The Testing many years ago.  However, Cia chooses to trust Tomas, a crush from her own colony, to help her advance and to provide mutual protection.  Once the pair passes the written exams, they are cast into a survival test that required them to venture many miles through the desolate land, facing wild morphed animals and the wrath of the others who were chosen, all competing and racing to the finish.  The two face many obstacles and depend on each other for survival and advancement to the university.

While this book is very reminiscent of the Hunger Games, it does have a unique and exciting plot.
 Action abounds as the complex characters navigate their way through a dangerous and exciting survival adventure.  The fast-paced plot and exciting descriptions will surely engage and entertain readers.  In the ever-popular genre of dystopian science fiction, this novel is refreshingly new and exciting and will delight fans.

Summary: Malencia is doubtful that she will be chosen for the testing, but when she is chosen, she is fearful because of her father’s experience and the disappearance of those that did not pass The Testing.  

Examinations-Fiction, Adventure-Fiction                     --Virginia McGarvey

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