Independent Study is the second book in Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing series. It’s my pleasure to report that this is no sophomore slump story. In fact, I enjoyed this storyline better than the first book because there was no time wasted on being slowly introduced to this futuristic world or the characters. The first page starts where we left off and we were off running until the very last page.
Joelle was able to keep up the intensity of the “unknown” theme which she mastered in the first book with a group of kids competing in unknown challenges and then having their memories wiped away. This time she put the remaining characters in a new test environment with a new round of characters for Cia Vale to determine if they are trustworthy. If she is wrong, it could cost her, her family and friends their lives. In the end, the author was still able to give readers fresh twists and left us again on a cliffhanger. In the process, Joelle answers dangling questions from the first book about the Cia and Tomas’s relationship, while keeping us puzzled about Will. I can’t wait to read the third and final book in this series, Graduation Day.
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.