A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Testing is a dystopian science fiction adventure in the mold of The Hunger Games, but without that series' bloodshed, pessimism, and intensity. There's a fair amount of violence -- including a suicide and a death by nail shot through someone's eye -- but the female teen protagonist in particular does not take any killing lightly. The language in the novel is very tame ("hell" and "damn"), and the level of sexual content (kissing) and substance use (two instances of celebratory drinking) are very low.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Seventeen-year-old Cia Vale has always dreamed of leaving her family at the Five Lakes Colony and going on to university. First, though, she must pass The Testing, a brutal series of examinations that push applicants to their physical, intellectual, and emotional extremes. Before she leaves, her father tells her to trust no one, but does that include Tomas, the handsome, sensitive classmate who seems almost too good to be true?
Is it any good?
Although it at first seems like The Hunger Games Lite, THE TESTING proves to have some original thinking behind it. As Cia and Tomas struggle to master the various assignments that will ensure them a college education and a rewarding career (provided they aren't killed first), the novel grows in complexity and develops suspenseful momentum. The book questions the notion of winning at all costs, and those who fail The Testing are treated by Cia as unique individuals who deserve compassion. The saga is clearly only beginning at the end of this volume, but readers will be ready to sign up for the next installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dystopian novels. Why are they so popular? How does The Testing compare with other dystopian books you've read?
Does society force teenagers to compete against one and another? When is competition desirable, and how can it be abused?
Do you think that the government ever secretly records the private conversations of its citizens? What reasons might they give for doing so?
- Author: Joelle Charbonneau
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date: June 4, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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