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Independent Study (The Testing Trilogy Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Joelle Charbonneau
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A New-York-Times bestseller, the follow-up to The Testing has Hunger Games fans buzzing… For the attention of candidate Malencia Vale. Congratulations. You have passed The Testing. You have won a place at our prestigious university. After six months of preliminary classes, you will sit an examination. The results will be used to assign you to an area of study appropriate to your talents. The United Commonwealth urges you to consider your answers carefully during this examination. Wrong answers will be penalised. "I galloped through this excellent read; I was in suspense the whole time." Charlaine Harris, author of the True Blood novels.

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About the Author

Ever since she can remember, Joelle has loved telling stories. As she grew up, she started performing those stories on the stage. Joelle still sings professionally, but most of her time is spent with her husband and son while dreaming up new stories.

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More About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau is a storyteller at heart. She has performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. In addition to her stage work, Joelle has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer.

While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she is equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her experience from the stage to create compelling characters in her mysteries. Her first comic mystery, Skating Around The Law, will hit shelves under the St. Martin's Minotaur imprint on Sept. 28th, 2010. To learn more, visit Joelle at her website:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good sequel 7 April 2014
By Macey89
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In the follow up to ‘The Testing’, Cia has made it to the University. Having taken the exams that will determine the future of their careers in the United Commonwealth, Cia and the other successful testing candidates now have a whole new set of challenges to face.

Cia’s memories of her first Testing have been erased, but as she prepares for her initiation into her class, disturbing flashbacks make her question the University and all it stands for. With her dreams full of suspicions about what happens to students that fail to live up to the University idea of its ideal candidate, she is thrown into a dizzying round of intense studying, ruthless initiation processes and cut-throat competition.

When she learns about a group of rebels working against the government officials in charge of the University, Cia has to choose whether to risk her life, and the lives of the people that she cares about, by joining their cause. But who can she trust? And who is doing everything they can to make sure she’ll fail?

When a series gets off to such a strong start, I’ve often found that I’m a little disappointed in the sequel. Here, the author manages to recreate the same world with just as much tension and suspense. Yes, the pace is a little slower and events don’t take quite such as deadly a turn as in The Testing, but that makes the things that do happen even more shocking. It does also suffer a little bit from middle book syndrome – where we’re clearly building up to a larger storyline but we have to wait until the final instalment for the main action to kick off.

Despite this though, it still gets a 4/5 from me. I actually like the way that this novel is set against an academic background, although still in a dystopian world.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating 8 April 2014
By Helen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I want to like this book a lot more than I do. The main character, Cia, is feisty and interesting. The society which Charbonneau established in the first book is explored further and there's still a large element of excitement and danger despite the fact that the most obviously life threatening element of her studies - the actual testing in book one - is over. Some of the antagonistically challenged characters who seem determined to trip Cia up and get her kicked out (or worse) from the university are a little flat, but that's okay. I don't mind that they retain an element of shady mystery. The way Cia struggles with her returning memories is well put together and, overall, the book is well written for this kind of YA genre based story.

However, the one big issue I had with the first book is exacerbated even further here. Okay, so students get killed during the Testing. In fact, lots of students get killed during the Testing. And then the government or education board or Dr. Barnes or whoever wipe the survivors' memories so no-one cops it. But what is never ever explained is WHY. Come on! These are the country's best and brightest. Why kill them? Why kill so many of them? Why make it so no-one remembers? The entire series is built around this premise and yet it's completely, irrationally illogical. There's no good reason why those who fail shouldn't just be sent home to hand their heads in shame. There's no reason to murder them. None. And when the entire plotline hinges on the fact that Cia and the rebels are trying to stop these killings from happening - but it's impossible to suspend your disbelief that they are actually happening - then the whole book fall flat.

It annoys me. This series has so much promise. But there needs to be rational motivation for those in charge to act like psychos or it just doesn't work...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great part 2 - nice set up for finale. 18 May 2015
By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this second novel in "The Testing " series - the first one had a very Hunger Games feel to it, in Independent Study the action moves from one kind of test to another - the university hopefuls may have passed the first hurdle but it has come at a huge cost that they cannot even remember. And if any of them thought passing The Testing meant safety and security then they are in for a bit of a rude awakening.

Once again we follow Cia - she cannot remember her testing but she knows more than most and will also discover more during the course of this story - now working secretly for the resistance she has no idea who to trust, even amongst those she counts as friends. She's also a little bit too clever for her own good and some very bad people are wondering if maybe she has some help..

I liked the often claustrophobic feel the author brought to this second novel - the action is fairly low key in a lot of ways, now Cia must fight and learn on a more cerebral level. I thought the handling of her relationship with Thomas was great - especially as she grows suspicious of him, indeed of everyone. In her new environment she has new friends and enemies and telling one from another is not easy, it creates a great underlying tension in the reading that sat very well with me.

The world building is expanded nicely and we learn more about how the government works, where it has its roots and it becomes apparent that Cia may have an even bigger fight on her hands than she thought. I do like the blurred lines the author has drawn between the good guys and the bad - there are several "factions" if you like, all who think their way is best, as things progress you wonder whether actually there is anyone that you could entirely root for.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Fantastic - a perfect set of books for any Hunger Games fans
Published 3 days ago by Dave Overton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thoroughly enjoyed this book
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Exciting, thrilling and totally gripped.
Published 19 days ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars After reading book 1 I had to purchase the second ...
After reading book 1 I had to purchase the second in the trilogy. Interesting gripping just had to continue the story.
Published 29 days ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best trilogies since Hunger Games! Would highly recommend!
Published 1 month ago by Ophelie Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing, thrilling, exciting and well written.
Published 1 month ago by Hayleigh Kavanagh
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The only criticism is that it's very similar to others in the genre like hunger games and divergent - but then I'm not sure which came first! Still very enjoyable
Published 2 months ago by Katy Davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow just wow
A great sequel which is,again a page turner. I did not lose interest at any point which is,saying a lot for a sequel as often writers gives too much background information to keep... Read more
Published 2 months ago by fhanif
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series
Loved the series. This one is every bit as good as the first. Couldn't put it down.
Published 3 months ago by Lynne Couzens
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I couldn't put this down, it's so good I found myself waking up early to read this before school starts.
Published 3 months ago by Georgia Keegan
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