Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. I just finished The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau and wow. I. Am. Speechless. Well not quite. My mind managed to utter a couple coherent thoughts about what I just read. First I have to say that I devoured this book. In a matter of hours, not days, but hours I poured into the pages following Cia Vale’s Testing process. Now for me, that’s remarkable. I read good books quickly, but very rarely can I read over 300 pages that quickly. Basically Cia lives in a dystopian society (get over it, dystopian books are still amazing) in essentially post-apocalyptic America in the new country the United Commonwealth. In the ravaged, desolate land that the population now inhibits there are colonies that each work to restore the land around them. Every year the graduates of the schools are evaluated and some are selected for the honor of The Testing to see if they are capable of being future leaders of the United Commonwealth and continue their education at the University. But as Cia quickly finds out there’s a sinister undertone to the reality of The Testing and isn’t the honor or hope Cia had believed it to be. Upon her selection, Cia’s father -who passed the Testing and University- tells her to trust no one and most of the book Cia struggles with her decision to trust her childhood friend Tomas that makes her heart skip a beat. This book really tested (no pun intended) my initial instinct to trust. Much like Cia, I wanted her to be able to trust people, especially Tomas. I always feel connected and attached to the protagonist of the stories I read. I want them to succeed with the least damage to their innocence, outlook on life, and happiness. I want them to be able to trust their love interest and have them live happily ever after without conflict, but what kind of book would that be? A boring one. The Testing was absolutely nothing like that. I was constantly amazed and hooked even tighter to the story by Cia’s intelligence and unbelievable determination and skill. As she grappled with moral issues that should be face by no sixteen-year-old I felt inclined to feel her hatred, confusion, and logical thinking. It was refreshing to experience a character which such complex, but simple thoughts. I understood the way her mind worked, I felt right at home seeing her insight into every test she faced. I had no doubt that I got this girl and that she would get me. I wanted nothing more than to see Cia succeed and I couldn’t put the book down despite my tired, fuzzy vision and aching body. It wouldn’t have been fair to the trials she was facing. Then there was Tomas. Well Tomas and Will. Tomas, I admit, stole a little piece of my heart as he grew fonder and fonder of Cia and was unafraid to show it to her. My heart jumped when anyhting happened between the two of them and I felt confident in Cia’s trust in him. I still adore Tomas, I really do. Will was pretty great too. Funny, witty, and always there with a smile I was willing to accept him in the group so log as he wasn’t a threat to Tomas and Cia’s relationship. This book kept me on my toes. I was on edge constantly waiting for something dreadful to come around the corner. I was blown away by the complexity behind the story I was reading. A brilliant novel was crafted and it certainly sparked my mind. It drew me in and kept my in it’s grasp. I wish it wasn’t almost midnight, because I’d be at the bookstore now buying the rest of the books. This is definitely NOT a series to overlook. Get ready to be tested.