independent study

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Independent Study (The Testing, Book 2)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 310 pages
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9-12

Summary: Cia was excited to find out she pass the Testing, but when she finds a recorded transmission in her own voice telling her of traumatic experiences during the Testing she’s terrified and battles with denial. She doesn’t want to believe it. But the recording is convincing because it is in her voice. Which leads to the question… What if the warnings are real? How can she validate her message? Does Tom still have his memories? Is it true that Will, her friend, tried to kill them? What’s in store next? Do more perils lurk on the University campus? The answers need to be found and Cia better make sure she finds the right ones or there will be consequences!

Why I started this book:

I devoured the first book in the trilogy. It reminded me of Hunger Games while being a fresh take on the dystopian genre. The hardest part about waiting for this book was the wait for my local library to process it and place it into the collection when I was first on the reserve list!


  • Independent Study is more intrigue than actual violence (though there is some). It’s the threat that creates the suspense. The intrigue goes larger-in-scale than the Testing and incorporates rebel factions and politics.
  • I like the initiation tests the kids goes through to get into their departments. The students in the departments devised the tests – you can see that something from the Testing bled through the memory blockers… well, that, or the kids are as sadistic as the adults who administered the test.
  • I like that Cia is tricked in whom to place her trust.
  • Spoiler: The rebel faction twist near the end of the book – I only caught a glimpse of the twist ending happening just before it did happen. Who would have thought the rebel faction was set up by the person they’re trying to rebel against? It definitely takes the saying keep your friends close, and enemies closer to a new level.


  • I was looking for more connections with the kids. Stronger friendships and it was still superficial or surface. Like Cia and Will, I was looking for a different side of Will (not necessarily as a romantic interest, but on the friendship side).

Final Thoughts: I hope the romance gets a little more attention in the next book. It had some ups and downs in Independent Study. The book was more focused on the intrigue and developing the setup for the next book.

Buy: Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2

Rating: 4.5 Treasure Chests