The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Because one can never have enough YA dystopian lit, I offer you another series. Of course, it is similar to Hunger Games and the Divergent series, yet different enough to keep a reader’s interest, IMHO. Sixteen-year-old Malencia “Cia” Vale is graduating from high school, but unlike Berkeley High grads, very few students in her world are given the opportunity to go to the university. To gain entrance, she has to pass the Testing, something only three of her fellow colony grads have been nominated for. Cia’s world has been ravaged by the Seven Stages War, and the university graduates are counted upon to the United Commonwealth’s new leaders, movers and shakers. She’s dreamed of this chance her whole life, but when her father, a university graduate in plant genetics, gives her advice as she’s leaving, she is stunned. “Trust no one,” is what he tells her, leaving her confused and torn about going to the the capitol city to be tested. The Testing will feel familiar to dystopia fans, with the life and death elements of the Hunger Games and the deceitful and tyrannical government readers have come to expect.
What’s interesting about this title is that the author doesn’t rely too heavily on romance, although there is a friend named Tomas from Cia’s colony that she does begin to depend on for survival. Another theme Charbonneau explores is the definition of humanity, as she is attacked my mutants who act surprising human during the last part of the testing, which plays out like a survival of the fittest challenge. Readers will be dying to get their hands on the next two installments in the series, both of which are on order for the library. I recommend this to dystopian and Science Fiction fans and anyone looking for an action-packed adventure.