HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. 978-0547959214
Synopsis: Cia has vowed to fight against the corruption surrounding the Testing, but this chance for her to lead is producing more questions than answers. How will she get the information to the right people? How will she know who the right people are? Who can she trust to aid her in her mission to stop a rebellion that has been so carefully orchestrated? Will she be able to do what is asked of her without compromising her beliefs? It’s clear she’s not longer the shy girl that got off the skimmer from Five Lakes so many months ago, but will the choices she makes really make her the person she wants to be?
Why I picked it up: Say it with me, readers: I had to know how the story ends.
Why I finished it: This series had me so totally engrossed from page one and the conclusion was no exception. Cia was warned when she left her home not to trust anyone, but she didn’t heed her father’s advice and chose to trust her friend Tomas during the last phase of The Testing. Now she must again go against her father’s words and choose a team of her classmates that can help her complete the deadliest test Cia has faced so far. Cia now has to determine where her friend’s loyalties lie and whether they will follow her or their own agendas. Charbonneau’s ability to create an engaging world and likable characters has drawn the reader fully into the story, making us believe in the danger Cia is facing. She keeps up a rapid plot pacing that keeps the pages turning and the reader on the edges of their seat. And there’s a number of threads that need to be tied up before Cia’s tale can come to a close to boot, which I am happy to say get resolved in a much more satisfying manner than its sister series (as much as I loved Mockingjay, Collins rushed the ending without touching on some things that were left untouched). The reader finds themselves emotionally involved in the story, desiring to see Cia and her friends succeed, to make it out of their ordeals alive and whole. But as with any conflict, there are no winners, only survivors. The ending was well-written, even if it was a little ambiguous and open-ended, but it leaves room for us to wonder, to hope. And everyone could use a spark of hope.
Other related materials: The Testing (The Testing, Book 1) by Joelle Charbonneau; Independent Study (The Testing, Book 2) by Joelle Charbonneau; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins; Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins; Divergent by Veronica Roth; Insurgent by Veronica Roth; Allegiant by Veronica Roth; The Giver by Lois Lowry; Maze Runner books by James Dashner; The Mortality Doctrine books by James Dashner; The Partials Sequence books by Dan Wells, Matched books by Allie Condie; Legend books by Marie Lu; The Young Elites by Marie Lu; In the After by Demitria Lunetta; In the End by Demitria Lunetta; The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguirre; The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman