Do you know that feeling when you finish an amazing book series and suddenly you have no idea what to do with your free time anymore? Well, that’s how I felt after finishing the Divergent trilogy, but The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau filled the dystopian-loving hole in my heart.
The Testing takes place in a postwar America that killed most of the world’s population and essentially destroyed all of the land. The United States is now the United Commonwealth and is broken down into smaller colonies, much like in The Hunger Games.
The book’s protagonist is Malencia Vale, a 16-year-old girl who is graduating from her world’s equivalent of high school. Under the rule of the United Commonwealth, the best and brightest students from the colonies and the one major city are chosen to participate in the Testing, an assessment that gives these students the chance to attend the university and potentially become the leaders of their country.
Malencia is thrilled when she is chosen for the Testing, but her father shares his concerns and nightmares about his time during the Testing. He tells her never to trust anyone during her assessment.
He suspects his nightmares are actually memories of the true, horrible nature of the Testing. Malencia soon learns that the Testing is far more treacherous than she expected, and quickly discovers that booksmarts alone will not help her pass it. She then has to decide if she can trust her childhood friend Tomas or any other Testing students. Malencia clearly understands that these decisions can save or end her life.
The Testing is great for anyone who loves dystopian novels like The Hunger Games or Divergent.
The Testing combines the best elements of both of these series but was never predictable. You will undoubtedly find yourself gasping at the events that occur throughout this novel. The Testing captures the gritty and terrifying possibility of a nuclear war and makes you question what the world would be like if everything had to be rebuilt from the bottom up.
The novel is bound to become the next dystopian cult series, so check it out now to say you read it before it became a mega-hit.