Series: The Testing #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date Published: 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
Description: In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
Independent Study was a decent follow up to The Testing, but this book really was a “second book syndrome” kind of book for me. It was just a bridge between the first book (which was awesome) and the (what I hope will be epic) conclusion to the series. I didn’t have any strong feelings one way or another about the plot until the very end, when the setup for Graduation Day was initiated.
My major complaint about this book (and the series, really) is how know-it-all Cia seems. She is just always right and it gets annoying. I was happy to see that addressed in Independent Study a bit. Cia is given a course load that is much harder than her classmates in order to make her fail and get… um… redirected. But she needs to show no fear and can’t mention that she’s struggling in order to succeed. That at least showed that the author realized how know-it-all of a character she wrote. I also was very irritated at all the explaining this book did. Honestly they are in a university setting. Can we not act like we need to dumb it down for children? I really did not need Cia to explain in great detail how a snare works. And all that summarizing and explaining everyone’s thoughts and motivations got a little old too. Please treat me a little like I’m an intelligent reader, OK? Also, the narrator (I did the audio) is a bit annoying as well and that didn’t help with the over-explaining. She read every word so specifically like a robot would.
I did like the secrets that were shared toward the end and the issues raised that create the plot line for the final book. We finally find out who the grey-haired man in the first book is, and what his plans really are. I always wondered why she was picked and why he helped her during the Testing, and it is kind of addressed in this second book. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up, but I’m not as impressed with this second installment of The Testing Trilogy.