It’s Graduation Day for Cia Vale – a review of Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

GraduationDayCharbonneauCia has been a participant in the Testing and is currently a student at the University. She has an internship with the President and has been doing a little spying for her. When one of the President’s employees is killed by the rebel leader, Symon, Cia rushes to tell her.

It’s Graduation Day for Cia Vale in a figurative manner. She is given a hit list by the president in response to the news Cia brings her. The President is convinced that eliminating these people is the only way to avoid civil war and to eliminate the barbaric practice of the Testing.

This is where it becomes clear that this is not a standalone novel. The Testing isn’t really explained until later in the book. There is a lot of talk about eliminating it. And if you read the first 2 books in the trilogy, you would know it’s because the Testing is deadly to some of the participants. And then there is the question of what really happens to the students who fail the Testing if they don’t die. What does it mean when they are “redirected”?

The novel also requires a little bit of suspension of disbelief when you realize that the President has given this responsibility for avoiding civil war to a teenager. That is a little unrealistic. But, once you accept that, you watch as Cia agonizes over how she can accomplish this when 1) she hates killing 2) she can’t pull if off alone and 3) she isn’t sure who she can trust to get help.

Much of the book is bogged down in this internal struggle of Cia’s as she tries to choose who can help her other than Tomas, her love. The book is told in first-person point of view from Cia’s perspective. There is also a fair amount about how to carry out the plan. While this is important for the plot, it does take up about 2/3 of the book.

The action, when it does come, is fast paced and interesting. The ending strikes me as a little weird. Would be spoilers if I go into it here, so I am going to leave it at that.

Read this book if you have read the first 2 in the series. It really doesn’t work well as a standalone. It does tie up some of the loose ends from the first 2 books. And there are a lot of plot twists when things get going.

I gave this book 3 stars. I liked it, but wasn’t crazy about it. The first 2 books in the trilogy were more action based and I preferred that style of storytelling by the author.

My copy of the book came from my local library.


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