2013, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Series: Book 1 of The Testing
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.
The Good: I loved The Testing. It hit a lot of the marks for me in terms of what draws me into a book. A dystopian world, a boarding school-esque setting, a reality show competition feel (even if that wasn't the exact situation going on in this case), etc. There is a lot of mystery to continue on here, especially in relation to what the true evil is here. It's implied that this is a dystopian system/society and you see how the testing itself works, but much is left unexplained as to why this particular system is utilized. I was absolutely glued to the pages of this book and cannot wait until the sequel is released.
The Bad: Nothing at all. I loved everything about The Testing.