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Independent Study: The Testing, Book Two

Review

Independent Study: The Testing, Book Two

INDEPENDENT STUDY hits the ground running with Cia sitting for exams and preparing to be assigned a field of study and work. She can’t believe the things on the recording she made for herself about the killing and violence that occurs during the Testing, as her memory has now been wiped mostly clean.

Nightmares and flashes of scenes continue to plague her. But when she realizes that the student who was “Redirected” after exams was actually killed, she is determined to find out the complete truth --- and to help stop the murders.  Her adventures in this excellent, taut book take her all the way to the President as she sorts out who her real allies and enemies are.

Cia is assigned to study Government, her last choice. After being shown her room in the new residence, she is immediately plunged into an initiation test. After she aces it, she finds that some students resent her. Michal appears again to tell her about a growing movement among Rebels who want to get rid of the head of the University and the Testing system. Inside Government, her final year mentor Ian also seems to be an ally, warning her that the university officials have concerns about her from something that happened during The Testing. She is assigned nine courses while most other students get five. Clearly, someone wants her to fail.
 

A stunning ending will bend readers’ minds and make waiting for the next installment very hard

The Government Induction is like a mini Testing, and Cia is a team leader with Will and two boys from Tosu City. One is in favor of getting rid of his fellow students, who he sees as competition, and the other proves to be an ally on the dangerous puzzles they have to solve. Not all students get through the process as well as Cia and her team.

Cia is wary of meeting Tomas too much for fear he will also be in danger, but they do meet and talk more about what happened during the Testing. She tries to set up a study group with a few friends, keep her head down, and work hard, but when she’s assigned an internship with the President, things get even more complicated.

Charbonneau shows how Tomas and Cia are maturing while keeping readers on a taut pace of action and danger. Readers will relate to the fact that both teens have doubts and make mistakes that put themselves and others in danger. The clever puzzles Cia and her team must solve during the Induction contain a layer of commentary on our current lifestyle, such as discussion on why people kept animals in zoos. An experienced and award-winning adult mystery author, Charbonneau shows her ability to release clues at the right time, as well as surprises. A stunning ending will bend readers’ minds and make waiting for the next installment very hard. Few sequels improve on an already good trilogy, but this book in an example that does just that.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on January 17, 2014

Independent Study: The Testing, Book Two
by Joelle Charbonneau