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The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau

It has taken me forever to get around to reviewing this book, even though I read it ages ago. And why is that you might ask? I rated it 4 stars, so I must have liked it! And the truth is yes, I did like it, but the issue that "The Testing" has, is that it is basically "The Hunger Games: Reloaded". It has almost all the same elements, it has the same setup. The difference between "The Hunger Games" and "The Testing" as far as I can see is the characters.

When I read "The Hunger Games", I laughed, I cried, I got mad. The characters and situations elicited emotions from me. I responded to the book, I cared about the "people" in it. When I read "The Testing", I recognized that situations were stressful and dangerous, I realized that people were evil and frustrating, but while I had those realizations they did not really affect me as a reader in any way, shape, or form. I am not sure if it is due to a lack of development of these characters, or maybe I just did not connect with them for some other reason. Maybe it is the way the plot is structured or the way obstacles are introduced. Whatever the reason, this book just did not live up to the book that it was essentially copying.

All those things being said, I did enjoy this book a good bit. I think that is because I liked "The Hunger Games" series so much that anything similar I can read as a "bonus" makes me happy. I have not read any additional books in this series but I really hope that Charbonneau finds her own voice in the subsequent books and diverges a little from the path that Collins has already taken.

I'd recommend this book to fans of "The Hunger Games" with the caution that you need to not expect anything new, and it would help to not compare this book and its characters to "The Hunger Games" if you can help it. It just will not live up to those kinds of expectations.