The Testing is the first book in a series of the same name written by Joelle Charbonneau. The story follows 16-year-old Malencia "Cia" Vale as she battles her fellow peers from all across the United Commonwealth for a handful of seats in the University. It is a young adult novel that falls into the dystopian genre, as the setting is a post-nuclear war United States.
Though the novel was released during a dystopian novel boom, Charbonneau’s story and writing stand out amongst the other series. She approached the genre from a new point of view by drawing on her experience as a vocal coach. As her students prepared their repertoire for college, she observed that the stakes for admission steadily inclined each year. The idea for students violently competing for twenty spaces in the University was a brutal exaggeration of what she noticed in her everyday life.
After its publication in 2013, The Testing was listed on the VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers.