Book Review: “Independent Study”

unnamed“Independent Study (The Testing #2)” by Joelle Charbonneau

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Other The Testing books

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


I had high hopes for this sequel. I liked the Testing well enough. I liked that time was split between the Academic University Test and the survival Test. I was hoping to jump right back into that. Sadly I didn’t get that. Instead, I get a bit dull middle of a trilogy book. You’d think that learning more about the University would be interesting but it’s really not.

Things moved SO SLOW in this book. This was the epitome of a middle of a trilogy book. We’re told a lot of things happen but it doesn’t feel like anything has happened. I think the only real progress we’ve made is we found out there is a rebellion to stop the Testing (but apparently that was a lie). That’s pretty much it. We haven’t found out much more about the world, why it is this way, or anything else helpful about this world.

Cia was way too perfect for my liking in this book. She figures out solutions to the test faster than anyone else. She has the highest grades of everyone. She’s taking 9 classes and is doing well in them. in addition to all that, she can sneak around and try to save the country. Everyone is out to get her. How is any of that realistic? Blah. Give me a break.

Despite my annoyances, I am intrigued to know more about the Testing and this world. When we did get tiny bits of knowledge, I gobbled it up and wanted more. The last 50 pages or so when we learn about the rebels are what save this book for me.

The bottom line? Entertaining read but too much fluff and not enough real substance for a sequel.

What are your thoughts? (Comments are moderated. Yours will be up as soon as I read it!)

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