Independent Study

Joelle Charbonneau. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-547-95920-7
Charbonneau continues the trilogy that began with The Testing with this densely plotted follow-up, a tense, paranoid story in which layers of treachery, deceit, and danger are peeled away one by one. Having survived the lethal Testing, which forces the best and brightest of a ravaged and rebuilding future America to fight for survival, and having completed her initial courses at the University in Tosu City, Cia Vale is ready to discover what field of study she’ll be assigned. Like all survivors, her memories of the Testing have been wiped, but she retains vague impressions of the past and a certainty that things are not what they seem. Before she can settle into the punishing workload, she must endure the Induction, a weeklong series of tests and challenges, knowing that any mistake can be fatal. Cia struggles to do the right thing when she uncovers a conspiracy against the government and a rebellion in the making. Charbonneau makes excellent use of her dystopian theme in a twisty story that hits its mark. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 01/07/2014
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