Book Review: The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Published by Houghton  Mifflin

My rating: 4/5

Spoiler free review : )


This series opens up in the United Commonwealth, which is what remains of the USA after a seven stage war. Much of the land is full of toxic radiation and mutated animals. The United Commonwealth has been divided into different colonies, where the main character, Cia, has just finished her general schooling. After graduation she is accepted into an intense testing program with the purpose of testing applicants physically, mentally, and emotionally to determine who will be allowed to continue their education in the capital, Tosu City. Those who make it through testing are guaranteed important jobs in the United Commonwealth. However, a warning from her father makes her suspect that there is more to the testing process than meets the eye. Cia must decide who she wants to trust and what she can do to ensure her safety through The Testing. 



This is my very first review of a book so I am very excited. Let me know what you think and if you thought that I left anything out 🙂 So, here we go!

This novel was introduced as something fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent will love. Therefore, walking into this series, I was expecting it to be like every other dystopian novel that has been released in the past couple of years. In some ways, in this first novel, there were some aspects that were similar to both The Hunger Games and Divergent and I can understand why people may feel as though this series is attempting to copy or hop on the bandwagon. This was often a reason for people’s lack of interest in the series. However as I dove deeper into this book and explored the world and the characters, especially as you move into the second and third novels, there are clear separations that make this book unique and brings up many interesting topics about society and many different types of relationships.

I also thought the author was really successful in displaying how these young adults would be feeling under the stress that they were experiencing. When the main character, Cia, experiences pain she has never had to deal with, she is unable to understand her emotions. She goes from having “a scream [build] inside [her]” to feeling completely numb and unsure of what was happening around her (Charbonneau 112).

I was really intrigued by the way in which the students were tested throughout the novel. I think the author explained the tests in an easy to understand manner that left me excited to find out the results. I was also interested in the focus that main character had on the restoration of the toxic wasteland surrounding her colony and many of the other colonies at the start of the book. I feel as though it says a lot about what she was taught as she was growing up. However, near the end of the novel she comes to realize what is really going on in the United Commonwealth and is more focused on what is going on in the capital city rather than the surrounding colonies.

The different relationships in the novel were a bit strange for me. I really enjoyed the reliance that Cia put on members of her colony because i think that is what any young adult would do in this situation. I found it believable that she would become closer to these other testing students. However, I feel at some points she puts a little too much trust in the other students after she had a warning from her father not to do just that. I feel as though it made his warning seem unnecessary. I felt this way especially with Tomas. I think some of the things he did throughout the testing was a little sketchy, but Cia never seemed to lose any trust in him.

Overall, I found this book very enjoyable. I read this book very quickly and I never had a problem with the writing or the plot. I was often on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted a quick and easy YA dystopian read.

Thank you so much for reading!! Let me know what you think 🙂

hello my name is