I was fortunate to receive a copy of THE TESTING from NetGalley. The book is due to be released June 4. Joelle Charbonneau has previously published adult mysteries, but this is her first venture into the YA market.
THE TESTING is widely being compared to THE HUNGER GAMES. Read this as a plus. Joelle has extracted many of the elements that made THG popular and inserted them in her own unique dystopian setting. Yes, I emphasize unique. Granted, both trilogies have groups of coming of age teens brought together for what turns into life and death struggles, but the motivation of THE TESTING is to find the strongest future leaders for their nation struggling to recover after devistation from war. This sets up a completely different set of motivations for her characters than THG's reality broadcast aimed at keeping everyone outside the Capital in line. (I concede that both governments are a bit warped, but what dystopian government isn't?)
Plot: Sixteen year old Cia and three other graduates from her colony have been chosen for The Testing to attend the University. Although she feels it is a great honor, her father, who has been through the testing, sends her off with the warning to trust nobody. The Testing quickly becomes a life and death struggle to determine who will be chosen to fill a limited number of spots at the University to be trained to be the future leaders of their country.
Small spoiler because you may want to know: Yes, there is a romantic triangle.
I'll sum up my feelings this way: Once into the book, I really had issues putting it down to do those minor things in life like work, eating and sleeping. A second testiment to how much I enjoyed THE TESTING is I'm actually writing a review. (Check out how long it has been since my last blog post!)
Anyhow, if you liked THG, expect to love THE TESTING. 5 STARS!!!!!