When my Thursday night dinner guest opened my screen door, she found an ARC of The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau resting against my front door.
I actually hopped with excitement. I DID score an e-galley during the week of StoryFUSION. Guess what didn't get read in time? So having a 3 dimensional paper copy in my hands - Wow. I was not disappointed.
Definitely worth the hype! A solid addition to the dystopian kids-against-the-pretty-weird-government trope. (Is "trope" even a word??? Make that "genre" instead.) Except in this case the government is trying hard to help - or at least that's what the kids who get chosen for The Testing think.
The beginning of the book shows a very functional community of like minded colonists doing their best to survive and thrive after the Seven Stages of War. The heroine's family is loving and hard working. When the heroine is chosen for the Testing - the only route into the University - her father offers her vague warnings and advice based on dreams he has had about his own Testing. Everyone who is Tested has their memory of the event erased.
That's all I can tell you without spoilers. Once the heroine hits the city the suspense builds and never ends. Book Two comes out early in 2014.
The Testing is being recommended to fans of The Hunger Games with good reason. The purpose for the Games and the purpose for the Testing are far apart. President Snow designed the Games to punish and threaten the Districts in The Hunger Games. The Testing is designed to sift out the best of the best to insure the country's continued survival. "Good" intentions aside, the designers of the Testing have some pretty ghastly things planned for our young friends. And the young test-takers provide the rest of the suspense. After a slow start, the pages just flipped themselves.