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The Testing Book Summary

by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing

Joelle Charbonneau


In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by war and natural disasters, the United Commonwealth has risen as a beacon of hope, rebuilding civilization. Every year, the brightest young minds from each community undergo a grueling series of tests, known as the Testing, to identify the most capable individuals who will become the next generation of leaders. Cia Vale, a brilliant and resourceful girl from the Five Lakes Colony, is chosen to participate in the Testing. However, she soon discovers that the trials are not just a test of knowledge and skills but also a dangerous game of survival where alliances shift, betrayals abound, and the true nature of the Commonwealth’s intentions is shrouded in mystery. Cia must navigate the treacherous landscape of the Testing while questioning everything she believes in and fighting to protect herself and those she cares about.

Table of contents

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Author & Writing Background

Joelle Charbonneau is an American author known for her young adult dystopian novels. She has a background in writing and editing children’s educational materials. Her writing style is characterized by fast-paced plots, suspenseful narratives, and strong female protagonists. Charbonneau has written several successful series, including “The Testing” trilogy and the “Dividing Eden” duology. Her works often explore themes of survival, resilience, and the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Key Takeaways

Post-Apocalyptic Setting

The story takes place in a future world devastated by war and environmental collapse. The United Commonwealth emerges as a seemingly utopian society, but its dark secrets and hidden agendas gradually come to light.

The Testing

The central plot revolves around the Testing, a series of brutal and manipulative trials designed to select the most capable individuals for leadership roles. The tests push the candidates to their physical and mental limits, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and make difficult choices.

Cia Vale

Cia is the protagonist of the story, a smart and determined young woman from a small community. She is chosen for the Testing and faces numerous challenges that test her intelligence, courage, and moral compass.

Survival and Betrayal

The Testing is not only a test of skills but also a deadly game where alliances are formed and broken, and betrayals are commonplace. Cia must learn to trust her instincts and navigate the treacherous landscape of the Testing to survive.

Mystery and Intrigue

The true nature of the Testing and the intentions of the Commonwealth remain shrouded in mystery. Cia uncovers clues and secrets that suggest a darker reality behind the facade of utopia.

Themes of Trust and Morality

The book explores themes of trust, betrayal, and the complexities of morality in a world where survival often comes at a cost. Cia grapples with difficult choices and questions the values of the society she is fighting to be a part of.

Character Development

Cia and other characters undergo significant development throughout the story as they face challenges and confront their own strengths and weaknesses.

Dystopian Society

The book presents a critique of dystopian societies and the dangers of unchecked power and control. It raises questions about the nature of leadership, the value of human life, and the importance of individual freedom.

FAQ about The Testing

Is The Testing part of a series?

Yes, The Testing is the first book in a trilogy. It is followed by Independent Study and Graduation Day.

What age group is The Testing appropriate for?

The Testing is generally recommended for young adults and older teenagers due to its themes of violence, betrayal, and dystopian settings.

Is there a movie adaptation of The Testing?

As of November 2023, there is no movie adaptation of The Testing.

The Testing Quotes

  • ”Intelligence is a gift, but it’s what you do with it that truly matters."
  • "Trust is a luxury I can’t afford."
  • "The Testing will break some, but it will reveal the true strength of others.”