REVIEW: Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

If you are new to The Testing trilogy, you probably won’t understand anything I’m saying. So, before I start this, I’m going to tell you to go pick up The Testing, Independent Study, and Graduation Day and read through ALL of them. They are absolutely amazing. I stumbled across this series a few years ago while I was browsing through Goodreads and my life has never been the same. I’m not going to give a synopsis since this is the last book in a series, so just go get the books. (Amazon Unlimited seems to be up and running, and if you’re a subscriber, you can read The Testing for free. Just saying).

1. Charbonneau never disappoints

Since reading The Testing, I have been hooked on this series. I took this recommendation because it was displayed in a list that said “For fans of The Hunger Games.” I will admit, I bought into it, but as you know, I really hate those kinds of comparisons. I can see how the first book could be a small parallel, but it is nothing like The Hunger Games. This world is full of intelligent, forward thinking individuals duped into thinking The Testing is something they actually want. The final book in the trilogy surprised me, made me laugh, made me cry, and ultimately satisfied with the ending.

2. Concerning the issue of Cia’s “magic” bag.

So after I finished, I started to read some reviews on Goodreads. One of the reviews focused on Cia’s seemingly magic bag. I beg to differ. Cia is insanely smart. Her bag that she constantly carries with her is a habit formed through The Testing. In this world, that is a great habit to have. Her bag is not magic, let me just clarify that now. While Mary Poppins does, indeed, have a magic bag that things seem to appear out of, Cia’s bag is vastly different. She thinks ahead and loads her bag with things she could potentially need. She is a genius using technology and machinery, so she usually has cogs and various items floating around her bag; she never knows when she’ll need to assemble an object to help her. This is not magic. This is genius. This is thinking ahead and making sure she is equipped to survive in this crazy world.

3. The parallel to our world and the potential reality of Graduation Day’s world becoming our own are both insanely terrifying.

I love dystopian universes that so closely resemble our own world. This series is no different. There is a huge world war (the stages are explained in the book) that decimate the earth’s environment and its people. From the survivors, an awareness was formed that the new world needed new leaders and ways to choose them – then The Testing was born. This process is so sick and this review is going to be spoiler free, so just read the book. I can absolutely picture something like this happening in our world. Not only talking about the war, but The Testing could be something a country would adopt out of desperation for leaders who they know have the ability to lead.

4. I know I always say this, but: THE WRITING!

Charbonneau’s writing had me so involved with the characters that their triumphs were mine as well as their failures and pain. From the first book on, I felt like Cia was a close friend who was relating to me the hardships she had to face. This is no walk in the park. This series is brutal and shows the ugly side of humanity while also balancing with the good. There is no love triangle (yay!) but there is love. Sitting just outside of the vicious ugliness of humanity, love is always present. As someone who considers herself as a “people hater,” it was so refreshing to see that love really does help with the darkness. There is so much darkness.

Overall: FIVE STARS!!! I sometimes have issues with series’ endings. This one did not disappoint. One of the biggest letdowns I could possibly have is a series having an ambiguous ending. This one does not have an ambiguous ending, but it does give the reader the ability to imagine Cia’s future after we’re done tagging along with her in The Testing universe. I heard some bitching about the ending on Goodreads, but true lovers of the series should be insanely satisfied and feel as if a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Click the link to order the book, I promise you won’t regret it. *While you’re at it, just get the whole series. You know you want to.*

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