I enjoyed Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing and thought that I would keep on with the second book in the trilogy, Independent Study. I think that Ms. Charbonneau actually veered away from a repetition of The Hunger Games and took her story in a slightly new direction.
Cia Vale has passed The Testing and is now being assessed to see where she will be placed for studies. In the midst of her preparations, she finds out what being “redirected” actually means–spoiler: it’s horrifying. In her panic, Cia realizes that the system of The Testing is broken. Really, the whole system, for its innovations and technological advances it brought forth, is broken. So she must make a series of choices. Who does she trust? Who does she consider her enemy? are all problems she must grapple with as she tries to keep up with her schoolwork and her relationship with Tomas. And yet she has memories that keep coming back to haunt her…
This series has come under criticism for Cia being too much of a know-it-all. But I disagree. She’s a logical thinker. She’s scientific. Therefore, she is going to rely on logic and empirical reasoning to solve mind problems. She is going to rely on her mechanical training that she’s cultivated since childhood. Maybe her timing and figuring out such problems is a bit too convenient, I’ll grant you, but c’mon. I root for smart girls!
The end presents a rather shocking twist I did not see coming, so I am intrigued to see how Ms. Charbonneau will close out the trilogy. Either way, it was the perfect book to read for the first week of school. Intriguing and engaging without being too intellectually taxing.