Review: Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau



Hardcover, 304 pages

Published June 17th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Source: Purchased

My Rating: 2 Stars

From Goodreads:

In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle? She wants to put an end to the Testing In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight. But she can’t do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates. Who can Cia trust? The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day. The Final Test is the Deadliest!

First, a few things:
1. While I don’t intend to, some things may give away junk from the first two books, so proceed with caution if you haven’t read them. No worries, I won’t spoil anything for this one!
2. I don’t proclaim for this to be my favorite series. I had some issues with the first two books, and kept on reading out of curiosity, and because I hate not finishing stuff. If you loved the first two, I assume you’ll probably not share some of my opinions on this one.
3. My two big issues with the first two books is that they were so similar to The Hunger Games, and that Cia was annoyingly perfect and respected for basically no actual reason. Just so we don’t have to rehash that. You can read my feelings about it here. I enjoyed The Testing, felt mainly indifferent about Independent Study, and was completely over Graduation Day.
So, where to begin? Honestly, I am bored just writing this review, so this doesn’t bode well.
I contemplated having a glass (or 5) of wine while I braved this, but then I didn’t. Too bad, because the wine might have helped. See how little I cared about Graduation Day? I just want to talk about wine, and then maybe go to bed.
I am going to do some bullet points, add a few gifs, and call it a day, okay? Great.
  • Cia is apparently the perfect person for a president to trust to complete super important tasks in government crises. No really, let’s send the sixteen year old, and whoever she’s hanging out with that week, to make all the plans. It’s kind of like me sending my three year old into the grocery store by herself and then being surprised if she comes out with a bunch of stolen bags of M&M’s. It doesn’t make any sense.  
  • We do get some insight into the reasons behind The Testing, but they aren’t great. It’s all still kind of vague, mostly boring, and didn’t make it seem any more plausible to me. I needed a legitimate reason why any of this was happening, and I just didn’t get one with enough believability.
  • Cia spends a lot of time questioning junk. Like, that is the theme here: Let’s help Cia sort out her morals. Via a 300 page book. But wait, Cia does no wrong, so…. does she really need all this time?
  • The parts that were supposed to be emotionally gripping fell very flat to me. (Again, this is probably on me, because I really didn’t care anymore.)
  • There were a few pretty good action scenes in the book, which is what saved it from one-stardom. There would be some moments during which I really got into it, but unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough of these to save this one for me. And, since I really didn’t feel terribly connected to the characters, when things got intense, the outcome didn’t really mean a lot one way or the other.
Bottom Line: I think a lot of readers did enjoy this, so if you don’t share my views on the first two books, you will probably be much more likely to give a crap about this one. I held out hope for a more exciting conclusion, but I simply don’t think that this series and I were destined to be.


Posted June 30, 2014 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 2 Comments

2 responses to “Review: Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

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