Independent Study is the bridge between The Testing, and Graduation Day. The second installment, in any trilogy, is usually the more challenging one to create and put forth to your readers, especially when the first one was so amazing. You see my lovely followers, The Testing was a heart stopping, action packed, thrill ride from the start to finish, whereas I am left grasping for words to express my true feelings about Independent Study.
Charbonneau's characters in The Testing, especially Cia, Tomas, and Will, were interesting, intelligent, and fun to watch as they got out of sticky situation, after sticky situation. You actually cared what happened to these characters as they made their way through a maze of danger. I even agreed that the story did have comparisons to the Hunger Games in that only the strong willed survived to move onward to the next step. Unfortunately, Independent Study left me highly disappointed and perhaps a little bit pensive about continuing to read the final installment.
Independent Study finds our heroine Malencia (Cia) Vale at the University in Tosu City having survived the Testing and looking forward to a future. For the past 6 months while taking preliminary courses, she's been trying to figure out what is real, and what is not, or who she can actually trust. Thanks to her brother Zeen's Transit Communicator, there are a whole lot of questions, and not enough answers. There is the feeling that no matter what she does, it won't be good enough to survive to see Graduation Day.
Now, Cia, Tomas, Will, Stacia and a whole new cast of secondary characters including Ian, Raffe, and Michal who we met in the Testing, must find a way to survive and advance before they are "Redirected" out of the program. Cia is still stubborn, perhaps a bit pensive about her own abilities even though they have saved her life more than a time or two. She becomes aware of the fact that people are watching her each and every move to see if she screws up so that they can "redirect" her out of the program.
Of course, Independent Study leaves readers hanging in the balance wondering what Cia and others will do next. Will Cia be strong enough to stop The Testing from continuing? Will see and Tomas have a future together, or will they find disappointment and sadness instead. I'll just say, stay tuned if you will.
*I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!*
Author - Joelle Charbonneau
Title - Independent Study (The Testing # 2)
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Released January 7, 2014
Genre - YA Dystopian
Recvd via HMB thru Edelweiss