After the Seven Stages war, the world is a complete mess; wasteland where almost nothing will grow, freakishly mutated animals including humans that live beyond the borders of the Colonies, and water so badly polluted that some sections are beyond cleansing. All of the children living in the colonies study furiously, hoping desperately that they will be the one selected as a candidate for the Testing, a mysterious procedure that culls a large group of children down to a small, elite group who get to attend the University and become the future leaders of the United Commonwealth. Cia Vale, and her childhood friend and crush, Tomas Endress are both chosen, and on the night before she is to leave for the Testing, Cia finds out from her father that he fears for her safety, and wishes she wasn't going. Refusal to attend is punishable by death, so of course she has no alternative but to participate, but now it is not the joyful experience she anticipated.
The actual testing consists of four phases; the first phase a series of written tests, the second phase involving a puzzle box and a problem, the third phase a team activity, and the fourth phase a practical cross country trial involving all of the remaining students. It is the fourth phase that most reminded me of the Hunger Games, but the morality of Cia and her reluctance to harm her fellow competitors is present throughout the entire book.
I guarantee this book is going to fly off the shelves, and, at the risk of sounding like so many desperate publishers, I do believe this is a perfect read for lovers of the Hunger Games. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games, get yourself a copy of The Testing a.s.a.p. You won't regret it!