Today I want to tell you about Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. It is written in the first person, narrated by Valencia Vale known as Cia. She is a strong lead and a survivor.
Imagine you lived in the smallest, most remote colony in reconstructed America and you wanted out. To get out you have to pass the Testing and go to University. What Cia doesn’t know is you also have to survive the testing.
Cia is one of four students from her Five Lakes Colony to be chosen to travel to the capital city for the Testing. They will join one hundred and four other students at the Testing Center. Cia has one advantage over the other candidates, her father passed the Testing when he was her age. Unfortunately, memories are erased at the end of the Testing, yet he has snatches of nightmares he fears are memories. In one a friend starts up a set of stairs, there is an explosion, he finds his friend’s boot, his friend’s foot is still in it. His advice is “trust no one.” There are three tests over several days conducted at the testing center. People who fail a test aren’t seen again. In the fourth part of the test the students must travel the 700 miles from the destroyed city of Chicago through a barren wasteland to Wichita, Kansas.
Obstacles include wild animals, mutated by nuclear war, traps set by the testers, and the most deadly of all obstacles, other students.
Of the 108 who begin the process only 20 will be accepted into the university. They know that some of the 84 don’t get in because they died, they hope others may have just gone "missing."
This is the first book in a trilogy and it was intriguing enough that I read the other two.