Archive for March, 2014

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

independent study

Genre:  Futuristic/Adventure

# of Pages:  310 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to The Testing, Cia is living in Tosu City having survived the testing in book one.  Tomas, the boy from her home town, is also in Tosu City.  Their memories were altered to keep them from remembering anything that happened during the testing, but Cia had left a message for herself secretly on the navigation device she brought from home so she remembers the hardship and loss they all experienced.  They are about to be given a rigorous test that will determine what they will study in college.  Cia studies incredibly hard and does pass, but not with the major she was hoping for.  Instead, she is put into the government field of study and must move into a dorm with other government students.  Students are not merely tested on paper, however, and must in fact survive a rigorous initiation process.  Can Cia survive yet another dangerous challenge that could end with her dying?  What does Cia learn about this government while living there?  Whom can she trust in his mission to stop the testing from ever happening again?

This is a solid follow-up to The Testing and will be  welcomed by many readers.  There is not as much focus on the students themselves as there is on the government officials and overall structure of the government.  The problems Cia has for freeing herself and other children from the testing regimens are only beginning to surface as this program involves many more people and secret layers than she could have ever thought.  Plus, the head of the government department seems to have it out for Cia.  She has a lot to do and is unsure who is really willing to help her do it.  Fans of The Hunger Games or adventure spy novels will enjoy this title.  This book really starts to set itself apart from other similar series.

Taken by Erin Bowman


Genre:  Futuristic, Mystery

# of Pages:  360

RAC:  Yes

In the town of Claysoot all men are taken at midnight on the night they turn eighteen while the entire town watches.  This has been happening since the beginning of the town’s existence, but no one knows what happens to these teens or who is behind it.  After watching his brother Blaine get taken, Gray learns they are in fact twins.  Therefore, he knows whomever is taking these teens did not know this or else he would’ve been taken too.  He decided to take the deadly trip to climb over the wall that surrounds the town in order to find out exactly what is going on and who is controlling all of them.  Emma, his childhood friend, follows him and climbs the wall too.  What will they find on the other side of the wall?  Will they live long enough to find out?

Another offering in the rapidly growing dystopian genre, this book will easily find an audience.  The details of the rustic town they live in give the reader an idea of what life was like growing up in Claysoot.  For example, Emma and her mother work as the town’s only healers.  Many of their priorities and rituals seems a bit shocking, but this town is trying to survive without any adult men so simple ideas of getting married and having families suddenly become an impossibility.  The characters that are introduced are colorful, multi-dimensional, and full of a desire to learn the truth no matter what the cost.  My high schoolers are waiting in line for this title.

Relic by Heather Terrell


Genre:  Adventure/Futuristic

# of Pages:  277

RAC:  Yes

Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death mere months before he is supposed to participate in the testing.  The testing is a rigorous and dangerous competition in which 12 contestants ride sleds into the frozen wasteland outside their city in order to lower themselves into icy ravines in search of relics from the civilization that died out 200 years ago after a vicious flood covered the earth.  Eva steps up to take her brother’s place and is met with harsh opposition.  A female has not competed in this in 150 years, but she knows the rule book inside and out and knows there is no reason they can forbid her to participate.  Jasper is the man everyone intends her to marry and he seems intent on keeping a protective eye on her during the testing, but Eva can’t shake the feeling that his intentions might not all be admirable.  Does she have what it takes to not only survive the testing, but to succeed in her mission?  Whom can she trust and whom should she be wary of?  If she finds a relic what will it tell her about the civilization that came before her?

Fans of futuristic stories such as The Maze Runner and Divergent will enjoy this title.  Eva is a strong and willful character that is pulling on her brother’s strength to carry off this mission.  While there are several supporters of her, there are also several who would love to see her fail.  Most of the story focuses on the testing itself, but there is definitely going to be at least one more in this series and readers will hopefully learn more about this community and how they came to believe some of the things they believe.  Eva is definitely the character to find out the answers to the many questions that come up during the testing.   The imagery and description of the setting is especially important since it plays such a big role in not only the testing, but the everyday lives of this civilization since the flood that destroyed the world 200 years before.