The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Target audience: Young Adult
Outside the boundaries of the United Commonwealth Colonies the earth is a corrupted wasteland after the Seven Stages War. Cia lives with her family on the outskirts of the Fire Lakes Colony where they work in a nursery growing genetically enhanced plants that can survive outside in the wild. Cia’s graduation day approaches and the chance to be chosen. Only those selected for the Testing are allowed to study at the university in the capitol of Tosu City. For the first time in ten years four students from Fire Lakes including Cia are chosen. Cia’s own father had been chosen at his graduation and she hopes to follow in his footsteps. On the eve of her departure, her father confides to her about his experience and his suspicions about the true purpose of the Testing. His last warning to trust no one lingers at the back of her mind as she and the others arrive at the Testing Center. The living quarters are monitored by secret cameras, students who fail a test either mysteriously vanish or take their own lives. The tests are arduous, timed and dangerous and students who perish under these conditions are unceremoniously removed. Cia is among a small group of candidates who reach the final phase where they are deposited into the wild hundreds of miles outside the protection of the Commonwealth. Their task is to find their way back to Tosu City. The tests are tame compared to this cruel, suicidal mission. Loyalties are tested and friendships formed and pulled apart. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep readers interested, enough romance to offset the horror of their world and enough suspense to bring them back for the next volume. (This book provided for review by Children's Lit - www.childrenslit.com).