Parents' Guide to

Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Sci-fi sequel spends too much time in familiar territory.

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Independent Study falls into the narrative trap that captures many second volumes in a trilogy. The novelty of the first installment has worn off, and the author isn't ready yet to choreograph the rousing conclusion. So Book 2 sometimes feels as if the plot is merely marking time. With Cia having had her memory wiped at the end of The Testing, there's a lot of catch-up that simply isn't as interesting the second time around. Author Joelle Charbonneau also allows Cia to find out too much crucial information by wandering around in the dark and conveniently overhearing conversations. There are a couple of intriguing reversals at the end of Independent Study that hint at a satisfying finale to come, but readers are going to need a lot of patience before they get to them.

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