Review: “Independent Study” by Joelle Charbonneau

While the second book in The Testing series wasn’t as good as the first one, I still enjoyed this book. We get a better sense of the world in which Cia lives and how she deals with the aftermath of the Testing.

Independent StudyTitle: Indepdent Study (The Testing #2)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Young adult, dystopian, sci-fi
Length: 310 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.”

three and a half starsMy Thoughts

Well, I wasn’t necessarily disappointed when I finished this. Truthfully, it ended a lot more abruptly and quicker than I thought it would. (Granted, I listened to this via audiobook and the narrator was slow. I sped up the reading speed to 1.25 instead of the normal 1.00. 😛 )

Some of the problems I had in the first book are still present in this one. I still find Cia a bit too resourceful. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but nearly every obstacle she comes across, she has a plan of action, whether it’s thinking back to something about her parents teaching her or reading about it in a book, etc. I guess I want her to face more. Cia isn’t aggressive. She uses her wits and analytical brain to sort through problems. She isn’t for violence, and I think that’s something she generally wants to avoid as she finds herself deeper into what’s going wrong with everything. Also, I’m still not convinced of her romance with Tomas. I wasn’t in book 1 either. I actually started shipping Cia with someone else but by the end of the book… Well, I’m glad I wasn’t super invested in that.

While I enjoy a lot of the external and internal tension, it’ll be interesting to see how much more will be shoved onto the students in Cia’s field of study and the United Commonwealth government itself. In Independent Study we really see how controlling the Testing committee is, and I seriously wonder how this will play out.

I find this quite unlike other dystopians in that violence doesn’t seem to be the action of the main character. By now, I expected a lot more bloodshed and violence. Perhaps that will all come to a head in the final book, Graduation Day.

You can buy this book and the others on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, Book Depository (this link is to the UK paperback edition which looks really cool!), or other major booksellers.

2 thoughts on “Review: “Independent Study” by Joelle Charbonneau

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