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The Testing Paperback – January 6, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 672 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Testing Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Like almost every 16-year-old in the United Commonwealth, Cia Vale hopes to be called for the Testing, her ticket out of rural Five Lakes Colony and into the University in Tosu City. Cia's father was selected, but only vaguely remembers the experience in nightmares. Her four older brothers were passed over. Just when she has resigned herself to life as a mechanic or farmer, she gets word that she is one of four students selected from Five Lakes and is expected to board the skimmer to Tosu City the next day, most likely never to return. The bulk of the book is taken up with the Testing-devious exercises to identify those with superior leadership skills as society has suffered through Seven Stages of War and desperately needs to repair the damage to living creatures and the environment. The mental and physical trials will weed out 80 percent of the candidates, leaving several maimed or dead. Cia teams up with Tomas for both practical and romantic reasons. She is independent and smart for the most part, and Tomas seems almost too good to be true. There are double-crosses, mutant life-forms, and booby traps to navigate before 20 hearty souls receive word that they have passed. Cia's story is expected to span a trilogy. The influence of The Hunger Games is obvious, and The Testing will satisfy readers who want similar dystopian adventures.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Mystery writer Charbonneau throws her hat into the YA dystopian ring with this series opener that bears more than a slight resemblance to The Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old newly graduated Cia Vale is selected to take part in The Testing, a process that offers the only chance at a college education and training to become part of the next generation of leaders. Cia has spent years preparing for this—it’s her chance to help the United Commonwealth recover from the devastating Seven Stages War. Cia’s father, who took part in The Testing himself, warns her to trust no one. Charbonneau is treading familiar ground as she sets her young heroine against a government machine that is focused, brutal, and duplicitous. Though the story moves quickly, readers might be confused as to the reasons behind the government’s methods. Why the brutality against students? There is no indication that the citizens are oppressed, and they’re unaware of how gruesome The Testing is. The ending will ensure interest in the next installment, but hopefully book two will deliver some answers. Grades 7-12. --Kara Dean --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 830 (What's this?)
  • Series: The Testing (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544336232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544336230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (672 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

More About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau is a storyteller at heart. She has performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. In addition to her stage work, Joelle has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer.

While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she is equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her experience from the stage to create compelling characters in her books. She is the author of the NY Times and USA Today Best Selling THE TESTING TRILOGY (The Testing, Independent Study and Graduation Day) as well as the Rebecca Robbins (Minotaur Books), the Glee Club Paige Marshall (Berkley) mysteries. Her books have been nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards as well as listed on the YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and nominated for the YALSA Top Ten books for 2014.

To learn more, visit Joelle at her website: www.joellecharbonneau.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've had my eye on THE TESTING long before it was released. I even received an eARC from the publisher for review. I was just sooo excited to read this, but for some crazy reason, I didn't. I kept thinking how awesome this series sounds, and how much I love dystopians, but I kept putting it off. So finally, when I received my credits from audible audio, I said what the hell, it's finally time to give THE TESTING it's fair shot. And OMG, I found myself instantly drawn into this story. The narrator was amazing, and the mystery was alluring, and I was easily able to get into the vibes. I couldn't help but to pick this audiobook up every free chance I got.


Cia has always lived a fairly good life, better then most anyway. With a big family, all brothers, and two loving successful parents that any child would appreciate. She's been preparing for the opportunity to be chosen for The Testing. But when the time comes to graduate and become an official adult, Cia's world becomes a living nightmare.

Cia's dreams have finally come true, she's officially been chosen for The Testing!! And she can't be more thrilled. She's always hoped for the opportunity to show her government just how much she can contribute in making the Commonwealth a better place for their future. And now after all her hard work, it's finally paid off. Until The Testing actually starts and Cia finally sees The Testing for what it really is, a death trap in waiting!

Cia has no choice but to go through with The Testing, or risk treason against the United Commonwealth. And that right there could mean a death sentence in itself. But Cia's not giving up, she's smart, determined, and not easily manipulated.
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Format: Hardcover
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I went into this book eager and excited to learn more about this thing called "The Testing." Having Cia's father's last departing words in the summary piqued my interest, big time. Why can't you trust anyone?! What's so dark about being tested to further your education? When I got an ARC from the publisher (Thanks so much HMHKIDS!) I could not wait to dive into this world. I had to hold off for a couple of weeks due to scheduling but once I finally started reading, I couldn't set it down! School and life demanded my attention so unfortunately, I had to stop reading. But the next minute I was free, I was grabbing this book up again. Needless to say, THE TESTING doesn't disappoint!

I've seen a couple of reviewers claiming that THE TESTING is like the HUNGER GAMES. I don't necessarily agree with that statement. I'll explain why: In a post-apocalyptic world, after the deadly Seven Stages of World, Earth is left ravaged, broken, and hardly sustainable to life. A group of survivors came together, created the United Commonwealth, and started the revitalization of Earth. Fast forward a hundred years or so later, and enter Cia Vale. She lives in the Five Lakes Colony with her family and University graduate father. Without him, new species of plants would not have been developed and everyone would die. (Basically. I'm kind of stretching it a bit). When Cia is chosen for The Testing after graduation, her father is not very pleased. He's gone through it, before.

Cia and the 3 other members of her colony are the first chosen candidates from Five Lakes in years. The competition sees them as no threat.
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Comment 37 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The plot was decent enough, but hard to really buy. If the characters were engaging I could've forgiven the flaws in the plot.

One of the main characters even has this to say about the plot: "I mean, why the hell would the Testing officials bring us all here just to kill us? It doesn't make any sense." No, Tomas, it doesn't make sense, and I am asking myself the same thing.

Despite my better judgment, I was curious about this book. The plot sounded like "Post-apocalyptic setting with a fight-to-the-death ACTs." I should have listened to the reviews that call this a carbon-copy of The Hunger Games except most people want to be tested after they finish their schooling, as opposed to being Reaped and knowing you'll probably die.

Which brings me to my next problem with this book. The whole testing process is really just a college entrance exam. Through inaction, the university essentially encourages the participants to lie, cheat, steal, and even kill. To them, death is a result of being wrong about something and if you died because you accidentally ate a poisonous plant, or another participant murders you, well, you should've been CONSTANTLY VIGILANT and not been killed, so the school wouldn't have wanted you anyway. Just. WHAT IS THAT. WHAT EVEN IS THAT. Beyond that, though, I'm not sure how this impacts the rest of the nation. Maybe not every colony is 100% equal to the others in terms of wealth, but I really do not think of this as a dystopia. The colonies are thriving for the most part. Leadership is encouraging research to improve the world from all the devastation of wars and natural disasters.
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