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The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau I liked this book in it's concept. I felt that it was imaginative and enjoyed the protagonist having to use her wits to solve tests. I felt that there were WAY too many references to "I remember my father/brother/uncle?/ neighbor?" telling me/showing me X and it being the solution to the test. I would have preferred more of where the protagonist found the answers within herself. And on that note, even though I liked this book, the biggest problem I had with this title was in the moral overtones I felt permeated throughout the book. I am not referring to Biblical morality. I am referring to politically correct moral overtones that I felt were not only providing the supposed "right" answers, but also talked down to the reader.

I must admit that I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games. One thing that I liked about The Hunger Games was that Suzanne Collins presented us with uncomfortable and unimaginable situations for which we are left to search ourselves and decide: What would I do? If I did survive, what would that say about me? What will I have become? I felt that The Testing had entirely too many pat answers, particularly for a teenager who is away from home for the first time and who supposedly came from an extremely remote area. Her answers were not that of a coming-of-age girl struggling with who she is, but they are the thoughts from a woman who is in her late twenties, who's thought processes are well-formed and frankly has all the "right," politically correct answers. It could even be believable IF these were the opinions of her teachers or parents and then when she was on her own, these principles were rigorously tested as well. But from what I saw in The Testing, they were not. I was left wondering if perhaps the publisher/editor did not feel comfortable with allowing the young adult target audience to come to their own conclusions about the circumstances explored in the book and wanted to be certain that they were left with the "right" answers. If so, this is unfortunate. What could have been a smart, survival-type story was turned more into a flat, tame and frankly less interesting story.