Book Review: Independent Study

Book Review: Independent StudyIndependent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 7th 2014
Pages: 310
Buy on Amazon

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.

thoughtGoing into Independent Study, my hopes were very low. I had liked The Testing, but it left me with a watered down copy cat taste in my mouth. The Testing felt like déjà vu. Every element, every little secret felt like a repeat. Not like I had seen it once, but over and over again, somewhere else. Those events that did feel new felt cheap in a way. Most added purely for the shock value. So, at the end of The Testing, I was not feeling good about continuing with the series. But since you can’t always judge a series by just one book, I decided I would at least have to give the sequel a try.

Independent Study starts shortly after the events of The Testing. Unlike most of her classmates, Cia actually remembers what the Testing did to her and her fellow initiates. It is not all sunshine and roses. Now, Cia is determined to get to the bottom of whatever it is that is really going on at the University. At any cost.

Cia is back and better than ever!

One of the biggest gripes I had about The Testing was Cia. She was too perfect. Things came too easily to her. It just didn’t feel natural. With Independent Study, that all changes. For the best, I am glad to say. Independent Study focuses mainly on Cia adjusting to her new life in the University. She is still thought to be something special, so her workload is almost double of most of her peers. At first, I was sure these changes were going to make Cia superwoman again, and any positive feelings I had going would be out the window. Nope. Cia struggles. Hard. Which, for me, finally made her likable.

Besides Cia finally looking a bit human, not too much else happens in Independent Study. There are a few other developments going on (*cough* rebellion *cough*), but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that you wouldn’t expect from the second installment. Which was fine by me.


Unexpectedly pleased.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Independent Study

  1. Oh nooooo. REMOVE ONE OF MY COMMENTS I HIT THE BUTTON TOO MANY TIMES. I am so so sorry. Here I am,trundling around the internet, making a fool of myself once more. Well done, Mia. Well done.

    I’ll just show myself out now.


  2. I’ve heard of The Testing before but most reviews weren’t stellar, just a few “yes, okay” and “hmm” so I wasn’t particularly interested. It’s rare that a sequel surpasses its first book, this series might deserve a bit more attention =)

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