Written by: Joelle Charbonneau
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: June 4th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
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.
One of the main reasons I try and power through a book that I’m not enjoying is so that I can write an informed and thorough review. But there’s always that part of me that says, Why are you doing this?! You’re not enjoying it, and look at your TBR pile! So I’ll DNF the book, and consider that time pretty much wasted… But then I realized that I actually like reading people’s thoughts on books that they DNF’ed. Just like with negative reviews, I like finding out the reasons why someone disliked a book, so I can inform my own book-buying decisions. But personally, I could never write an actual “review” or give a real star-rating to something I didn’t fully invest my time in. Sooooo… I’ve decided to try out something new: a DNF Q&A.
This will (hopefully) be a very infrequent feature here at TWBI, and I’ll only utilize it when I feel I actually have something to say about the book. But I have some questions for you, as well: Do you really like/dislike any of the questions below? Do you want to suggest additional ones? Do you dislike any and all kinds of DNF write-ups and think this was the worst idea ever??? ;) Leave a comment! I’m genuinely curious whether anyone finds this kind of thing helpful like I do, so let me know your opinions!
Did you really give The Testing a chance?
I feel like I did, yes. I read 110 pages (1/3rd of the book), and it took me almost three weeks to get that far. I kept putting it down and reading other things, and then picking it back up to give it another chance, but it never grabbed me. This happened too many times for me to remember, so I had to just call this one a miss.
Have you enjoyed other books of the same genre?
Definitely. Hunger Games, Divergent… I am a big fan of dystopian YA.
Had you been looking forward to this book in particular? Why?
Yes! I’d read more than a few good reviews, and it sounded like a book I would really enjoy.
What ultimately made you stop reading?
The Testing just wasn’t for me, and there is one huge reason why: I couldn’t connect! For some reason I found myself totally distanced from the story and feeling like there was very little emotion to it; Cia may have said she was feeling nervous/scared/relieved, but I never felt those emotions reflected in her actions or narration. And despite the book being in the present tense, I didn’t feel like Cia was telling us about these events and her feelings as she experienced them – her clinical tone felt oddly distanced from the present tense narrative. It ended up coming across as emotionless, to me. I also found Cia’s tendency to describe conversations (rather than actually include dialog) a little odd.
Was there anything you liked about The Testing?
I actually really liked the concept and the plot. After a series of wars, the planet is a wreck, and civilization is split up into a bunch of different colonies all dealing with different hardships from their locations (yeah, like The Hunger Games). Cia is chosen to participate in a series of tests that determine whether those chosen have the potential to be the country’s leaders. But she’s warned by her father that something sinister might be going on, and she heads off to The Testing with the feeling that she can’t trust anyone. It had potential!
Would you read any other books by this author?
If the synopsis sounded good, I think I would, yes. I’d at least give it a chance.
So you DNF’ed the book – but would you still recommend it to anyone?
Actually, yes. I can tell from other reviews that a lot of people really enjoyed it, so if this sounds like a book that would interest you, and you’re not as picky as I am about the things I mentioned above, I’d recommend downloading a sample of the eBook, or checking out the first chapter in the bookstore to see what you think.