April 1, 2015

Binge Reading: The Testing Trilogy

Last year I read Joelle Charbonneau's book The Testing and really enjoyed it. It's a little Hunger Games, a little Divergent, but with it's own unique twist. I just love the strong female characters we're finding in the YA dystopian future realm these days. It makes me happy to see literary role models out there in popular, main stream fiction that personify strong women: strength of character, physical, mental and emotional strength, intelligence, common sense, caring and humanity (no mention of beauty, thank you very much)...all the characteristics of good people and good leaders...all in young women. It's a beautiful thing.

Plus they're fun, fast-paced, enjoyable reads. Bonus!

Anyway, I finally tracked down the remaining books in Charbonneau's trilogy at a local library and promptly binge read books 2 and 3 (Independent Study and Graduation Day, respectively) in the course of one week (and I wasn't even on vacation...I was trying to escape my own life, though, so...and I do love a good binge reading episode).

And they delivered.

Some of the ever-popular trilogies really flop on book 2 (like The Maze Runner...book 1 was good, but book 2...flop!...I didn't even make it to book 3), but I thought Charbonneau did a good job. She kept the story moving forward at a good clip through all of the books, and kept my interest throughout--as evidenced by how quickly I devoured these books. Book 1 was still the best (as it almost always is), but the entire trilogy is worth the read.

Here's a blurb about the trilogy from Charbonneau's website:


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.

So, if you like YA dystopian future novels...if you enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent...if you like a good, fast-paced, fun read...then I recommend reading The Testing Trilogy. Check it out.

Until next time, happy reading!

P.S. Booklist says it's for Grade 7 and up.

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