The Testing — Book Review

[Spoilers at the end]

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is an exhilarating novel that combines Hunger Games and Maze Runner in an post-apocalyptic world.


Reading this book, I thought that it closely resembled the two other books mentioned above because of there very similar elements of world destruction, a unified controlling government that inflicts unnecessary suffering and death.


Should you read?: YES (be warned, this is a trilogy) — I read it in two sittings, just a break for dinner ;)


  • It’s interesting to note that most dystopian books I’ve read have included Chicago as the city of choice.
  • The cover resembles Hunger Games a lot.
  • The plot is very similar as well. Including help from outside sources.
  • The book is fast paced and easy to comprehend.
  • I honestly thought that Tomas would die. The author continuously builds up very implausible scenarios for him to get injured yet still alive and pass the final portion of The Testing.
  • When they got into the maze in the city, Maze Runner immediately popped into my mind.

Spoiler Summary:

The main character, Cia, is “chosen” to go through “The Testing” due to her exceptional knowledge and skill shown in school (she is shown to possess very adept reasoning and logical skills). Once “chosen” students pass “The Testing,” candidates are allowed to receive a college education from “The University.” Regarded as an honor to be “chosen,” Cia leaves her family into a world of unmoral actions and cruel “tests” implemented by the government. In order to weed out the weak, students in “The Testing” go through 4 separate tests: Intellectual, Hands-On, Teamwork, and Surviveability. In each stage, Cia witnesses as her competitors mess up, sabotage each other, while the government does nothing to prevent their deaths. Cia witnesses deaths of many of her close friends, and comes to reality of what the government is doing. Tomas, a childhood friend of Cia, becomes her close and trusted friend as their mutual friendship turn into love. At the end of the traumatic tests, which Cia and Tomas both pass, their memories are wiped clean. However, Cia manages to record some of her memories down in a voice recorder that she had, and leaves the plot hanging as readers wonder what the next book will lead to…


The main theme of the book can be found on page 256. “[The 4th test] is also designed to gauge not only the choices we make, but also how we live with those choices once we’ve made them” (Joelle).