The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
You don’t want to fail this test.
Interests/Topics: Environmental Science (Farming and Sustainability), Competition, Post-Apocalypse World, Survival, Romance, Identity
Curriculum Connections: English; Environmental Science; Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology (APS); U.S. Geography
Blurb: If you’re hungry for more Hunger Games, The Testing will whet your appetite but won’t be quite as filling. The Testing is a bit like a younger sibling to Suzanne Collins’ best-selling and beloved satire: it’s not as developed or mature, it lacks a bit of finesse, but it works hard to mimic its big sis.
I think that most people would agree that we would most definitely pray, beg, and plead to whatever Higher Being is listening that our names aren’t selected for the Hunger Games (you know, in some alternate universe where we could be dropped into the plot of a book). For the graduates of the Five Lakes Colony however, having your name chosen for the Testing is a dream, one they have been preparing for since they were children. For small-town (ahem, -colony) girl Cia, participating in the Testing will only improve her quality of life. Or so she thinks.
No former participant remembers what happens at the Testing (hello ominous clue). But the promise of a University education lures the graduates, providing them with an alternative to the hard physical life of the colonies. Students who pass the Testing are the future leaders of the United Commonwealth, the ones who will create a better standard of life for the human race. But almost no one passes. And what happens if you fail?
Flavour: “His dark eyes are serious as he looks down at the paper and reads, ‘Every year the United Commonwealth reviews the achievements of the graduates in all eighteen colonies. The top students from that pool of graduates are brought to Tosu City for Testing to attend the University. Being chosen is an honor. The graduates of the University are our great hope—the ones we are all counting on to help regenerate the earth….’” (21)
“One hundred and eight of you have assembled to be tested. At most, twenty will pass through to attend the University.” (68)
“Anger and indignation cut through my fear. Whoever this person is, isn’t relying on their own smarts to pass this test. Michal said that killing someone isn’t against the rules, but in my mind it’s a form of cheating. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a cheater win.” (153-54)
“I mark the grave with a large reddish rock and I wish I knew the girl’s name so I could at least bid her a proper goodbye. Instead, I clutch her bracelet to my chest and offer my silent promise that no matter the pressures or fears that come, I will not put aside the beliefs I grew up with in order to pass.” (187-88)