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  • Clare O'Beara - The testing

    In the style of 'Hunger Games' the young people gather to be Tested when they graduate at age 16. The earth has been damaged by war and Five Lakes Colony needs people at University to develop crops that can cope and remain edible. Cia is so proud to graduate, but then is taken for Testing. She must travel to far Tosu City with three others. But her father, who was himself Tested, tells her of his wiped memory and nightmares, of how he never saw any candidate who failed again. Whatever Testing involves, he didn't want it to happen to his daughter. Trust no-one, he emphasises.

    Only bright young people are accepted so Five Lakes, which sent no candidate for some years, is potentially losing the experts it needs to survive. Cia and her friend Tomas find hidden cameras trained on them even on the journey. The city is wealthy but some people look dirty and hungry. Other candidates may try to weaken the opposition, so Cia doesn't accept food from them. The first stage is written; history questions on the war and restoration, which wasn't too bad, but Cia doesn't like the sound of the team assessment stages to come, and tensions are mounting.

    I was concerned that a student, stressed from exams, takes her own life. I know young people don't need a book to see that this can be done, but we don't need to show young adults that this is an option to be considered at exam time. Cia is focused on surviving and helping her friends, but she realises that no official stepped in to save the other girl, which again may inspire a reluctance in young people to confide in adults. While there is less action than in 'Hunger Games' deaths, traps and betrayals follow so this is not for the tender. With exams over, survival skills and weapons are required to face the contaminated wilderness where anything goes from the contestants.

    The style of writing is good and the story kept me reading, but we early see that science is prized, knowledge and initiative are survival tools. The real lesson of Joelle Charbonneau is encouraging young people to learn all they can; our race may depend on them, and not just for brutal combat entertainment. This makes it less believable however that her dystopian society would cull the most intelligent young people annually; surely they would cull the slowest? If you know a young person who reads THE TESTING, I would encourage them to discuss it and see which attitudes are relevant to their own lives and which are not.

  • Raymond - Amazing Asus

    It's the best ever tablet I bought. Fast and crystal clear monitor. I have to wait a little longer to have it from Amazon but it's worth to wait. I just want to know now how to upgrade it OS to Android Ice Cream Sanwhich bcoz till now its still running on Android Honeycomb...

  • Sally McCullough "Texas Sam" - Only a Kindle

    This was purchased by me for my husband's birthday two years ago! It was probably the best gift he has received! We didn't have to buy more book shelves for hardbacks and he adjusted beautifully to this handheld device. He asks for Amazon gift certificates so he can stay up with his favorite authors. When they are out a couple of weeks and the price drops, he buys like crazy!! He is an avid reader and this is what every reader needs!!