Graduation Day by Joelle Carboneau

So I finished The Testing series a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the finale installment. I was surprised though, which is a good thing.

This time around, Cia has been asked to eliminate Dr. Barnes and the top administrators and proponents of The Testing. The hope is that way, the President can put the motion on the Debate Chamber floor to end The Testing without Dr. Barnes seizing control. Cia isn’t sure she can do it, not alone at least. But this mission is the most risky yet, if she is unsuccessful her life isn’t the only one on the line, the lives all the rebels are too, and future Testing candidates. Is she meant to be successful, or is this too another elaborate test?

The fast pace and deadly consequences for ones actions are still here. There were some edge of your seat moments that made me not want to put it down. There was also some more political intrigue in this one as each side played their cards, so to speak. Plus, there was a surprise twist over who Cia’s real enemy was. I liked that since I didn’t see it coming, but it did start to make a little more sense why she was asked to complete such a gruesome final test.

This time around Cia does finally start to trust people, it takes her a while, but she does finally make some allies other than Tomas. She also comes to the realization that Will was just acting out of desperation, a realization I made long ago. Cia definitely came a long way from the beginning and grown into a young woman. I’m proud of the choice she made on the final pages.

Now, I’ve seen this criticism I’m going to mention on other reviews, so I couldn’t help noticing it as I read, and had to agree with it. Her bag. That darned bag she brings with her everywhere. It must way a bloody ton by the end with everything she lugs with her, not to mention it must be quite large to carry transponders and bombs and other equipment around. Either that or she has Time Lord tech or an undetectable extension charm on that thing. I mean seriously, she has her books, clothes, weapons, equipment, and more in it.

I do however wish there was an epilogue, or some other way to wrap things up to let you know the outcome of everything since the end is a bit ambiguous, and I hate ambiguous endings. Unless you are Margaret Atwood, stay away from ambiguous endings.

All in all though, I’d say this one was more like the first. Therefore, I’m going to rate it as high as the first, so Four Lightsabers. Also, I’m glad that The Testing is on the 2015-2016 Sunshine State Readers list for 6-8 graders. I can’t wait to recommend it to fans of the genre.

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