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5 Stars: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau ARC

So I was freaking thrilled when my friend Krys asked if I wanted her extra copy of The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau because it sounded awesome! We had a great discussion about how, yes, it does have a similar premise as The Hunger Games and many people will probably get hung up on that. However, The Testing stands on its own with a new spin on the idea of kids fighting because of a corrupt government and wonderful characters (and no love triangle so far!). I can confidently recommend The Testing to anyone who loved The Hunger Games and those who had certain problems with HG. The Testing comes out June 4th 2013!

Note: I read an advanced copy of The Testing, so there may be changes in the final version.
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Goodreads Amazon | LibraryThing

Title: The Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Length: 336 pages
Genre-ish: Dystopia YA
Rating★★★– awesome writing, characters, plot, everything :D

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust. — Goodreads


  • The writing of The Testing was fast-paced and compelling. I kept finding “extra” time to read because I just couldn’t stop.
  • While The Testing is going to be compared to The Hunger Games a lot, there is not as heavy an emphasis put on kids killing each other because in The Testing, they don’t actually have to. The competition isn’t about being the last one standing, it’s about reaching the finish line. This changes the dynamic a lot because there is no longer the knowledge you will have to kill your allies, there is just the question of how far other competitors will go to be in the top 20.
  • The dystopian world that The Testing is set in is quite interesting because of how possible it is. There is talk about a world war that progressed through various stages of nuclear bombs, biological weapons and general destruction. It was startling how plausible this all seemed when characters started talking about what led up to it >.>.
  • I love plot twists and The Testing had so many plot twists and I was couldn’t wait to see what happened next. When books can surprise me not just once, but many times, I have to keep reading since that’s the only way to know what is really going on :D.
  • There were hints at a rebellion brewing in The Testing, and now I’m pumped to find out more about those rebels in the next book hopefully *fingers crossed*.


  • The one problem I had with the premise of The Testing is that the test is to decide who gets to go to University. It just doesn’t make sense to me that a destroyed country wouldn’t want any and all promising minds to reach their full potential ya know?
  • The romance proceeded a little fast for my taste, though I’m sure many of you won’t mind ;-).
  • Right away from the opening scene of looking in a mirror, The Testing reminded me of Divergent and The Hunger Games here and there.


The Testing could very well be my favorite dystopian of 2013. I loved the characters, the premise, the world (well, I wouldn’t want to live there, haha), and the plot! I’m hoping some of my hang-ups will be resolved in the next book, and I hope that the trilogy doesn’t end up following the Hunger Games too closely. However, The Testing is an excellent start to a series that has a lot of potential. I’m very excited to find out what happens next :D.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A


 The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I was hesitant about this one at first, although now I have no clue why – and after reading your review, I want to get this book. in my hands. NOW. XD It sounds just amazing, I’m adding it to the wishlist!! Thanks for the sweet review!

    • I know a lot of people have been unhappy that it is doing the competition between kids in a dystopian government thing like HG, but I still massively enjoyed it, so if you are okay with that aspect, you must get it asap!

  2. I loved The Testing too. :) Definitely the best ya dystopian for me too in 2013. Romance was a bit fast but it seemed like they already flirted a little before and even Tomas asked her out but Cia refused him because she was embarrassed (if I remember correctly).
    You’ve got Independent Study at Edelweiss, if you like to find out what happens next. ;)

    • Yeah, I do appreciate there being a slower romance, but having the pre-established friendship from before the book works well too. I just requested Independent Study so I’m crossing my fingers!

  3. Mirrors! WTH is going on with mirrors in books?!

  4. I’ll be honest and say I liked the premise, tho I disagree about The Hunger Games analogy. I think it is very close, almost completely taken from it and reworked a bit to make it sound different. I was actually annoyed with the fact that anyone got killed at all b/c there was no need for it, but it was done anyway. To do so and not have a premise of why it’s needed is just one reason I could not rate this higher than a three. I also was annoyed that there was SO much narrative. Everything I knew about the characters I learned from the MC, when it should have been done through some dialogue. When there was dialogue it was short and clipped or it was an extra long paragraph that was never broken up. I did enjoy the read enough to stay interested, but I think there are many flaws that could have been ironed out in this book.

  5. I think the deciding factor on whether someone will like The Testing or not is how much they like/dislike all the similarities to THG. I’m willing to give The Testing a try, but hopefully it’s not ENTIRELY like THG.

  6. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads says:

    I loved this one too!! I agree that it will be compared to THG a lot, but it’s not the same. I can’t believe how far some of the students will go to be top 20. I honestly wouldn’t want people like that being the future leaders. I also agree that I didn’t really understand why they were putting all of their brightest through tests like that, I would have figured they’d want everyone as well. What the heck happened to all the people who didn’t get past the first round? I would hope they would just send them home with their memories wiped, but I just don’t see it, you know? Weird government!

  7. Wow, I’m impressed! I was kinda nervous about this one, but from your review it sounds pretty awesome. Yay!

  8. Great review. I really enjoyed the book as well. A lot of people seemed to be mad and called it a rip off of the Hunger Games, but I only saw a few similar themes and the differences mattered. Like you said, crossing a finish line is different from walking into an arena knowing you have to be the last one standing.
    Glad you loved it, too!


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