May 29, 2013

Always Watching - review

Always Watching  

author:  Chevy Stevens
publisher:  St. Martin's Press
to be published June 2013
source:  Publisher

Always Watching has
  • a psychiatrist
  • a commune
  • repressed memories coming to light
  • an estranged druggie daughter
The psychiatrist is a take-charge type of woman who is determined to investigate, report, and make things right. It is written in first person: "I did this. I remembered that. I went there. I talked to..."  I read the whole book, although I'm not sure why I did.     By the time I finished, I just didn't care about what happened, the twists and coincidences.  I hated that because Chevy Stevens' first book was such a favorite of mine.

YMMV -- your mileage may vary. 

May 4, 2013

The Testing - review

Reflections:  The last ten years I taught, my main responsibility was Transition Assessment, to prepare Middle School and High School students for life in the great big wide world.  Basically, it was "What do you want to be when you grow up?   How will you get there?"   I tested the students' aptitudes, achievements, abilities and interests.  Therefore when I was offered the chance to read The Testing, I jumped at it!

 The Testing
author:  Joelle Charbonneau
publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
to be published:  June 2013
source:  publisher and Netgalley

The Testing is a cross between Hunger Games and Divergent.    All three begin a trilogy about a girl chosen from her district/faction/colony in a ceremony to compete against others in a Big-Brother society-government-nation. Despite these similarities, each book is unique.

Cia Vale, on graduation day, is now an adult and can wear red.  The whole colony gathers together for graduation and to see if anyone from their colony is chosen for THE TESTING for admission to the University.   Those chosen are tested for the correct combination of intelligence,  ability to perform under pressure and leadership.   Of course it isn't a spoiler when I tell you Cia is chosen to be tested .... if she wasn't, there wouldn't be a book to read!

Hours before Cia leaves for THE TESTING, her dad tells her about his own testing.   Memories of those who have been tested are wiped.  Therefore her dad has memories arising during nightmares.   As you probably know, some veterans who return from war are very reluctant to tell their family members and friends what it was like over there and they have nightmares.    Cia is surprised to learn that her family did not want her to be chosen.   Her dad also warns her:

Do not trust anyone.

 So what is Cia to do?  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book much more than the other dystopian series.   We get to see Cia's thinking and her reasons for her choices.   We learn the history of her nation and why it became that way (Seven Stages of War).

While you're waiting for The Testing, download the prequel free at  the Testing Trilogy site.  You're also challenged to try the test too!