Independent Study (The Testing #2) Review

Title: Independent Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: HMH Books
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian 

Spoilers in white. Highlight to read. 

Blurb: (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.

Me: Again, same thing. Unoriginal. Unmemorable. Stuff we've already heard before.

The Ups: I really liked the ending. And that was basically it. The idea of a staged rebellion to eliminate troublemakers was really original and I had not seen it coming. I also loved how it cut off right there, but tied it together quite nicely. The ending made me reach for the third one right away.

The Downs: But it ends there. Every other aspect of the book was repetitive and unoriginal. 

First off, I am so sick of perfect heroines. SO DONE. I felt it with Katniss in The Hunger Games, and now I'm feeling the same with this character, Cia. She seems to be able to do no wrong. She cares for all these people dying in The Testing and afterward, even if she didn't know them or didn't care for them. She is way too sympathetic, and is also way too smart. It's impossible for her to be so extraordinary that she passes the tests that were made for the smartest people in the nation so easily. I just wanted to say, "Do you have flaws? Or are you a freaking goddess?" 
Also, why is the University basically identical to the Testing? Why do people still get "Redirected?" Was the author just too lazy to actually creatively think of a different setting and a different society that she just took the easy way out? You would think there would be a bit more interesting way of the school to work after they've gone through so much just to get to the University. 
I also felt like Tomas wasn't too interesting. I couldn't feel the security and the comfort that Cia felt around him. I couldn't really see what was so special about him. I feel like that made the romance less strong, and I didn't feel the trust and the importance between the characters. 

Overall: There just wasn't anything special, and I didn't feel connected to the story. 

Rating: 2 kisses! 


  1. Thankyou for review, i really love dystopian and sci-fi genre. So i decide to read it sometimes. :3