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Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau ARC {3 Stars}

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau is the final book in The Testing trilogy. While Graduation Day continues the trend of a fast and addictive read, it also unfortunately continued the trend of being way too similar to other dystopian trilogies. There will be spoilers below for The Testing and Independent Study; you’ve been warned ;-). If you’ve enjoyed the first books in The Testing trilogy, I think you’ll be very happy with Graduation Day. If, however, you struggled with elements of either, you’ll probably encounter those same problems in Graduation Day.

Note: I received Graduation Day through trading. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau ARC {3 Stars}

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing #3)
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 17th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can't do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for - but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves--and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope--in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau's epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it's Graduation Day.

3 Stars


  • Graduation Day presents an exciting and solid plot in the first pages, making it already better than Independent Study. I don’t want to give too much away, but I suspect the plot of Graduation Day will shock and excite fans of this trilogy quite a bit ;-).
  • As with previous books, Graduation Day is a fast read and action-packed. Even the brief scenes within classes or on campus convey intriguing and important details about Cia’s new task.
  • I was really excited to briefly encounter hints at what is going on in the rest of the world while reading Graduation Day. I in fact wish that these had been explored more since that is something most dystopian series fail to do these days. I wished that I could sit in on Cia’s world events class since it sounds like the US government is finally getting in contact with the rest of the world.
  • Graduation Day presents Cia with some very difficult decisions and interesting discussions about the means versus the ends when solving a problem. I honestly do not envy Cia’s position since I don’t really know what I would personally do, which made it all the more gripping to read about Cia’s choices.


  •  Cia has this way of thinking that tends to lead to some rather drawn out internal monologues. I kept feeling like she was repeating herself, which I suppose is true to life when it comes to thinking over important things, but makes for a rather boring read at times.
  • The initial premise of Graduation Day is a bit hard to believe despite the effort put forth to explain how it is the only good option. Further, the ending dives into using science words completely incorrectly and nonsensically, making everything even more difficult to happily follow.
  • If you haven’t read Independent Study since it came out, you might want to reread. There are references to things that happened previously that I had a hard time remembering since there wasn’t much of a recap to help the reader.
  • One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen about this series is its similarity to The Hunger Games. At first I fought against that comparison since I like the standardized testing aspect. However, Graduation Day is painfully similar to Mockingjay down to the twists and details that could have easily been changed to at least make them sound different on the surface….
  • An unfortunate difference between Graduation Day and Mockingjay, however, was that I just couldn’t care about the secondary characters, making the various deaths much less climactic and moving. Graduation Day just doesn’t give enough face-time to the secondary characters to make me think of them as real people, so why should I care?


Graduation Day is a satisfying end to The Testing trilogy, in that it continues both the strengths and weaknesses of the previous books. It will appeal greatly to readers who enjoyed the rest of the trilogy, which is really the main goal. However, if you were hoping for it to improve much on the previous books, that hope might be in vain. If you’re looking for a trilogy to scratch that itch left by finishing The Hunger Games, this might be a good one for you, but otherwise it really is just another dystopian trilogy at the end of a trend.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

© 2014 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I’ve really enjoyed this series so far, and I have no idea why I haven’t read Graduation Day yet, other than I just forgot about it. I’m so glad that you liked it and shared your review. I’ll be reading it soon. :-)
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  2. I’m actually really glad to hear that you’re in the middle about this book. I was freaking out because I hadn’t added this one into my book-buying plans (it’s a delicate system, you know), but now I think I can wait a few months and get it then. I still want to read the series, since I actually liked The Testing. I’m just glad I have a heads up to not be completely stunned when I’m a bit underwhelmed by the ending.

    • Haha, I’m glad that that’s helpful! I liked the Testing a lot as well, just didn’t feel like the second two lived up to it ya know?

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