Wednesday, March 19, 2014

YA Pick: Independent Study

Independent Study (The Testing trilogy, book 2)
by Joelle Charbonneau
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
310 pages
ISBN: 9780547959207

Riveting and dark, yet deeply satisfying, fans of The Hunger Games will love Joelle  Charbonneau's exciting  trilogy.

Cia has completed her studies and now faces examination day which will determine what branch of government  she is selected for. Her memory has been erased but she sometimes has brief inklings of a piece of a puzzle that seems to be memory. She knows if Dr. Barnes suspects she remembers the past year, she will face punishment and death.

When she aces her test, she is assigned to the Government where students study to become leaders and law makers. Cia is disappointed because she longed for Engineering, and she fears for a fellow student who has failed his test. Cia follows Obidiah and two officials to the Administration building where her worst fears are now confirmed. Dr. Barnes does not trust ex-students to return to their towns; he makes them "disappear." Cia realizes that it can happen to any student...even her. She makes plans to run for it, but is stopped by Michal, the guide who first brought her to the school. He tells her news of a secret plan to oust Dr. Barnes, and Cia agrees to remain at school and keep her eyes and ears open.

The next part of training is tough. Cia has to compete against the Tosu students who have an unfair advantage. Students are given harder and harder tasks and tests; their progress is measured by the eyes of the trainers and Dr. Barnes. Cia knows that failure is not an option. Students are in a competition for their future and their lives, and it doesn't get more serious than that.

Cia is intelligent, well-prepared, and quick-witted. She makes instant decisions that save her life, and she trusts her instincts. She remembers not to trust anyone, but it is hard to make friends with others when she can't trust them.  Can she trust Tomas, a boy from her Five Lakes community? Or will Cia find a new friendship with a student from Tosu?

The government put the testing in place to discover and develop its future leaders, engineers, doctors, teachers, scientists and problem solvers. What has become of such high ideals and hopes? A program that is unseen and unchecked by the government run by one man who will go to any lengths to remain in power and unchecked. The perfect situation for a coup is brewing, and Cia is right in the middle of the action.

This is one YA trilogy that rocks!

Highly recommended grade 7-up. Some kissing. No profanity. Violence. Death.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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