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Graduation Day
     

Graduation Day

4.1 61
by Joelle Charbonneau
 

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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

Overview

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!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Charbonneau’s portrayal of a ravaged future America attempting to rebuild itself is gripping, filled with surprises and complicated questions of right versus wrong. As in the previous books, Charbonneau remains focused on philosophical worries and moral tests over spectacle and bloodshed, with multiple layers and twists to keep readers forever guessing."
—Publishers Weekly

"Conspiracies, counterconspiracies, lies and double crosses: It's quite a ride."
—Kirkus

"Charbonneau delivers nail-biting suspense that fans of the series have come to love."
VOYA

In this standalone finale to The Testing, Cia Vale has arrived at the point of no return. She knows that the Testing must be stopped, but how? Desperate for some solution, she brings her grievance to the United Commonwealth President, who gives her a list of the guilty who need to be eliminated. Confronted by that almost overwhelming task, she realizes that she needs the help of others, but finding those who still remain loyal among Testing survivors proves to be a daunting task in itself. A trilogy topper that doesn't disappoint.

Publishers Weekly
03/24/2014
Charbonneau concludes her dystopian Testing trilogy with this action-packed finale, which sees Cia Vale secretly tasked by the President of the United Commonwealth to remove the officials behind the lethal Testing process that has claimed so many young lives. Caught in an impossible situation, under constant surveillance, Cia must find allies among her classmates, never sure who she can trust. If she fails, the Testing will continue to destroy teenagers in the name of creating future leaders, while the rebellion against the government will likewise fail, betrayed by its leader. Cia must navigate a complex moral gray area, questioning authority and her own motives, forced to utilize her wits at every turn. Charbonneau’s portrayal of a ravaged future America attempting to rebuild itself is gripping, filled with surprises and complicated questions of right versus wrong. As in the previous books, Charbonneau remains focused on philosophical worries and moral tests over spectacle and bloodshed, with multiple layers and twists to keep readers forever guessing. Enough potential threads are left dangling to leave room for future stories. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (June)
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Cia Vale, the girl who survived the Testing, vows to join the rebel alliance fighting against the United Commonwealth. But who will follow her? And who can be trusted?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544541207
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Series:
Testing Series , #3
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
43,184
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A knock makes me jump. My hands shake from exhaustion, fear, and sorrow as I unlatch the lock to the door of my residence hall rooms and turn the handle. I let out a sigh of relief as I see Raffe Jeffries in the doorway. Though we share the same path of study, there is little else that is similar about us. Me from the colonies, who had to survive The Testing to be here. He from Tosu City, where students related to former graduates are welcomed into the University with open arms. We are not friends. Even after he helped save my life last night, I do not know if I can trust him. But I have no choice.
   Raffe appears unconcerned, but I can read the warning in his eyes as he steps into my sitting room and closes the door behind him. “Cia, they know.”
   My knees weaken, and I grip the back of a chair for support. “Know what?” That I left campus? That I know the rebellion led by the man who helped me during The Testing isn’t what the rebels believe? That soon the rebels will launch an attack that will lead them to their deaths? That Damone . . . I push my thoughts away from that question.
   “Professor Holt knows we both left campus.” His dark eyes meet mine. “And Griffin has started looking for Damone.”
   Of course Griffin would be looking for his friend. When he doesn’t find him, he will alert the head of our residence, Professor Holt. She will wonder why the Tosu City Government Studies student has vanished. Will Dr. Barnes and his officials believe the pressure to succeed has caused Damone to flee? Or will they launch a search for him and discover that he’s dead? Panic begins to swell. I tell myself there wasn’t another option. But was there?
   I shake my head. Unless I want my future to contain Redirection or worse, I have to avoid thinking about what is past.
   There are no rules that say we cannot leave campus. I cannot be punished for that alone. But if they know what I have seen . . .
   I take a steadying breath, then ask, “Does Professor Holt know when we left or if we left together?”
   My fingers trace the lightning bolt symbol on the silver and gold bracelet encircling my wrist as I think of the tracking device contained inside. The one I thought I had beaten. Only, I was wrong. I was wrong about everything. Now Michal is dead and . . .
   “I don’t think anyone knows how long we were gone. No one saw us leave, and I don’t think anyone spotted us when we returned to campus.” Raffe runs a hand through his dark hair. “But Griffin stopped me when I was going to deliver your message to Tomas. He asked if I had seen Damone. Then he  wanted to know where you and I went this morning. I don’t know how, but he knew we were together.”
   I have not told Raffe about the tracking device in his bracelet. Part of me had hoped I would not need to share my secrets. My father warned me before I came to Tosu City for The Testing to trust no one. But I have. I must again now. Because he’s helped me, Raffe is in danger.
   Quickly, I tell Raffe about what’s hidden inside the bracelets and about the transmitter Tomas and I designed to block the signal and hide our movements from Dr. Barnes. Only, sometime last night or this morning, that transmitter fell out of my pocket. Where and when it was lost I do not know.
   Raffe looks down at the symbol etched on his bracelet—a coiled spring in the center of the balanced scales of justice. “They’re monitoring our movements.” There is no surprise. No outrage. Only a nod of the head before he says, “We’re going to have to find a better way to block the signal if we don’t want them watching our every move when we do whatever you have planned next.”
   What I have planned . . .
   This week President Collindar will stand in the United Commonwealth Government’s Debate Chamber and ask the members to vote on a new proposal. One that—if approved—will shift administration of The Testing and the University from Dr. Barnes’s autonomous control. One that will force him to report to the president and allow her to end the practices that have killed so many who wanted nothing more than to help their colonies and their country. But while I’d like to believe the proposal will pass and The Testing will come to an end, everything I have learned tells me it is doomed to fail. When it does, rumor says Dr. Barnes’s supporters will call for a vote of confidence on the president. A vote that—if lost by the president—will signal not only the end of her role as leader, but the start of a battle that the rebels and the president have no hope of winning, since Dr. Barnes knows of their plans. Indeed, he and his supporter Symon Dean have planned the rebellion itself. Only recently have I learned its true purpose, which is to identify, occupy, and ultimately destroy any who would oppose the selection methods of The Testing. The time is fast approaching when Dr. Barnes will allow his people among the rebels to escalate their outrage and encourage open warfare, in order to crush that rebellion with violence of his own. If Dr. Barnes’s plan succeeds, those who seek to end The Testing will die—and my brother will be among them.
   I can’t sit back and allow that to happen, but I don’t know how I can help stop the events that are already spinning into motion. I thought I knew. I thought I had found a way to help. But I only made things worse. Now Dr. Barnes will be watching my movements even more closely than before. I wish there were time to think things through. My brothers always teased that it took me hours to make a decision that took others minutes, yet my father taught me that anything important deserves thoughtful study. The choices that face me now are the most important of my life.
   Am I scared? Yes. As the youngest student at the University, I find it hard to believe that my actions could change the course of my country’s history. That I am clever enough to outthink Dr. Barnes and his officials and save lives. But there is no other way. The odds favor my failure, but I still have to try.
   “Right now the only thing I have planned is to do my homework and get some sleep.” When Raffe starts to protest, I say, “You need sleep, too.” The way his shoulders sag tells me he is just as tired as I. “Maybe if we’re rested we’ll come up with a way to help stop what’s coming.”
   Raffe nods. “Regardless, with everything that’s happened, it’s probably best we stay inside the residence for the rest of the day. I’m sure Professor Holt will have someone watching you. You’ll need to be careful.”
   A muffled series of clicks catches my attention. There it is again. One. Two. Three faint clicks of the transmission button on the Transit Communicator. The signal Zeen suggested we use to indicate one of us needs to talk. He must have found a place where it is safe for him to speak. But it is not safe for me. Not with Raffe here. I have been forced into trusting him with many things, but I will not trust him with this. Not with my brother’s life.
   “I’ll see you later today,” I say. Raffe cocks his head to the side. His eyes narrow as the three clicks come again.
   Pretending I hear nothing, I walk to the door and open it. “I have an assignment I have to get to work on.”
   Raffe looks around the small sitting room. My heart beats off the seconds as he waits for the clicking noise to recur. When it doesn’t, he shakes his head and walks to the door. “I’ll be around if you need anything.”
   When the door swings shut, I flip the lock and hurry to my bedroom. My fingers slide under the edge of the mattress and close around the device I brought with me from Five Lakes Colony. It was designed to communicate across distances of less than twenty miles with a device my father kept in his office. The one Zeen must hold now while waiting for me to respond.
   I click the communication button three times to indicate I have received his signal.
   “Cia. I can’t tell you how glad I am Michal finally told you where I am. I wanted to contact you the minute I got to Tosu City, but Michal said it would be best to wait. Are you okay?”
   The sound of Zeen’s voice fills me with warmth. Growing up, I could always tell Zeen anything. Of all my brothers, he was the one I went to when I needed help with a problem. I was certain he could come up with the answer for everything. I hope that is still true.
   “I’m fine.” For now. “But—”
   “Good.” I hear Zeen sigh. “That’s good. Cia, I’m sorry I was so angry. I shouldn’t have let you leave without saying goodbye. I was jealous because you got what I thought I wanted. I didn’t know . . .”
   I think about the hurt I felt when Zeen disappeared before I left for The Testing. Of all of us, he is the most passionate. The easiest to upset. The quickest to react when his emotions are stirred and hardest hit when those he loves are wounded or taken away. Which is why I understood his absence when my family said their farewells and why I can honestly say, “It’s okay. Besides, if you hadn’t stormed off, I would have asked permission to take this Communicator and you would have turned me down. I wouldn’t have made it through the last couple of months without it.”
   “You should have heard me yell when I saw your note.” Zeen laughs. “Mom said it was a small price to pay for how I’d behaved, since I might never see you again. She didn’t want me to come, but Dad understood why I had to. Cia, there are things happening here. Important things. I don’t know if Michal told you, but these people are going to end The Testing. The leaders here have a plan that will change everything. It’s dangerous.”
   “Zeen . . .”
   But Zeen isn’t listening. When I was little, Zeen used to talk to me for hours about things I didn’t understand, but I didn’t care. I loved listening to his voice and knowing that he understood the things he talked about. But he doesn’t understand now.
   “Zeen . . .”
   “And it’s complicated and will take too long for me to explain. I can’t talk for much longer or someone will come searching for me. With everything going on, they’re slow to trust. Even with Michal’s endorsement. I think they would have arrested me the minute I walked into camp if it weren’t for—”
   “Zeen, stop!” When there is silence, I say, “Michal’s dead.” My throat tightens. Tears prick the backs of my eyes. Saying the words aloud makes them all too real. “I saw him die.”
   “Cia, that can’t be true.” But the hitch in Zeen’s voice tells me he is shaken by my words. “I would have heard if Michal died. Symon or Ranetta would have told us.” Zeen’s soothing tone is the same one he used when I was small and thought there were monsters lurking under the bed. Only there is no soothing me with kind words now. I know these monsters are real.
   “Symon wouldn’t have told you because he’s the one who killed Michal.” I look at the clock beside my bed. Five minutes have passed. If Zeen is right, people will soon come searching for him. I don’t want them to hear him talking into the Communicator and think he’s a spy. There is so much to say. So little time to say it in. I have to decide what is important now and what can wait until we can arrange another time to speak.
   “Michal brought Symon the proof the president needs to sway the Debate Chamber vote and end The Testing in a peaceful way. I was hiding nearby.” I can still see the way the rebellion leader looked when he raised his gun and fired. Two shots. Then Michal fell to the ground. “I heard Symon say that he and Dr. Barnes created the rebellion to control those who want to bring an end to The Testing. The rebellion isn’t real.”

Meet the Author

Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an opera singer, but these days she finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son, and when she isn’t writing, she works as an acting and vocal coach. Visit Jolle at joellecharbonneau.com, on Twitter at @jcharbonneau, and on Instagram at@joellejcharbonneau. 

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Graduation Day 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
You can see my reviews of the first book and second book on my blog. Graduation Day is the (mostly, around 90%) satisfying conclusion to The Testing trilogy. This was the strong finish I was hoping for after feeling somewhat disappointed in the second book. Throughout the book, I felt satisfied and engaged in the story. This story was much more fast paced and action filled than the second story. I actually felt like things were happening and it certainly reminded me of why I decided to stick with the trilogy after reading the first book. The only real issue I had with the book was the last “big” scene (don’t want to spoil things). I felt like it was somewhat rushed and glazed over rather than fully explained. While I understand the reasoning behind this (time is of the essence), I wanted to know more. I wanted answers! I guess things were written this way to be more open to interpretation, but sometimes I don’t want interpretation. I want definitive answers. Oh well. Overall, I have really enjoyed The Testing trilogy. I would recommend it to those that enjoy YA dystopian series. *** This book was received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. *** You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
This is a disappointing end to a promising trilogy. I absolutely loved “The Testing”, and while a bit disappointed in “Independent Study”, I still enjoyed it.  I wish I had stopped before I read “Graduation Day”. The one redeeming factor of “Graduation Day” is the action, so I will begin there.  The action sequences were intense and real page turners. Unfortunately, there was not enough of it. It all seems like the author is trying too hard to put in plot twists.  Some of it came nowhere and made no sense.  Characters made decisions not in line with what had been established about them previously, and at some point Cia became just as cold and uncaring as those she was trying to overthrow.  The ending made her seem like she cared about no one but a cause- the same way of thinking that created the testing in the first place. I wanted to love this book, or to even just “like” it.  Neither of those are possible. There are barely even any resolutions to the multitude of problems in their society. It was enough of a letdown to make me regret reading past the first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While i still really enjoyed the book and the series as a whole it left so many questions unanswered. Glad i read it despite that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series was amazing. Loved every bit of it. But I agree with the person below. We were left with too many questions. The most important one to me is about Doctor Barnes and President Collindar. What were their true intentions? Was Barnes truly against the testing? And why? But either way I recommend this series. If you have already read the other 2 books and aren't sure if you want to buy this third one, buy it. It starts out with a twist we learened about in Independent Study, so the beginning was exciting. The middle was filled with mostly planning for the grande finalie. But th end? LOVE IT
IAmy More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed this trilogy, the last book left me wanting and in the end I’m just kinda glad its over.  Out of them all I like book two the best and had similar feelings towards book one and three.  Perhaps it is just time to put YA dystopian books aside for a while.  I’m feeling so ambivalent about the book I’m really not sure where to go with my review, the book just didn’t grab me until the last third, part of that could have been I read the first chapter of my next read and got really excited over that, but I’m thinking more is to blame with the book itself. So lets start with the positive, what worked for me in this book of the trilogy.  I liked how we got a better explanation as to how the world came to this point in its history.  I also enjoyed the action in the latter parts of the book.  I also respected the integrity of Cia, her strong moral compass even when she must do tasks she finds uncomfortable.  I liked the redemption of certain characters that will remain nameless to avoid spoilers.  I also enjoyed the way the trilogy ended.  It left me satisfied and ready to put this series behind me. One of the reasons I read dystopian books/series is I enjoy the fight to overcome insurmountable odds to right what is wrong in the world.  I enjoy the characters who look at the awful worlds they exist in and want to do something to change them for the benefit of all.  I like the idea that we can overcome corruption.  This series delivers all that, but perhaps it just needed something more. I’m afraid it might get lost in the sea of other dystopian works that have flooded the YA market.  Still I’m happy I stuck it out. So what bothered me with this book, what didn’t work for me.  It was slow to get into first off.  My mind would wander and I was being told so much instead of reading about action.  It got a bit tedious in the first half of the book.  Now I was happy to get all this information, but perhaps it could have been broken up a bit more instead of feeling I was sitting in one of Cia’s classrooms during class.   You may disagree, but I think the story would have been stronger without the romance.  It just felt tacked on and to me there was little chemistry between Cia and Thomas.  I was more interested in Cia and Raffe’s connection then I was with her and Thomas’s relationship.  I don’t think the story needed a romance or the failed love triangle that was thrown in for part of this book.  It just didn’t work for me and frankly I have trouble seeing a future for these two beyond the end of the book, and I’m alright with that. If you LOVE dystopian genre books then by all means add this series to your to-read list, it was a good (but not great) read.  After loving book two more than the first I had hopes for the ending to go out with a bang.  Unfortunately for me it just fell flat.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay but i still would read it because it catches my attsion .
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the books. It was fast pace and always had a new questions you needed to know the answer to. However, I do have to agree with most of the other reviews...the ending lacks some serious clarity. It leaves the reader with more questions than answers. It also lacks a sense of realism...why would the President uphold her end of the bargain. I mean the last 100 pages was action filled scenes of people killing people for the what everyone thought was right and true. With the reveal at the end you wonder how it can truly just be done and over with off of a few promises. It adds a factor of trust that has not been present in the book thus far and discredits the story to some extent.
StephanieTiner More than 1 year ago
Cia made it through The Testing and her induction into the University but now she faces her greatest test of all. After discovering Symon wasn't who everyone thought he was, Cia finds herself in a precarious position. Faced with many more lives on the line, Cia must decide who she can trust and how far she will go to put a stop to The Testing. I was shocked by this third and final installment of The Testing trilogy. This book took a turn I was not expecting, or ready for. When she spoke to the president, I was floored. As a whole, this book was unexpected but good. I liked how thought out everything was. It was nice to see that Cia had retained her strategical way of thinking. I was also happy to see that characters, besides Cia, retained their personality characteristics that I had grown to either like or dislike in the first two books. I did not like how willingly Cia gave up some of her character traits and beliefs that I was really attached too, I liked her all the more for them, and though she did struggle a little bit with the decision, it seemed like she gave it up too quickly, especially since she had been raised to think that way. I was surprised by the turn of events that involving a request president Collindar as well as a modified recording device. However, I cannot say anything more without adding spoilers. As a whole, I thought this book was okay. I have very mixed emotions about it. The ending was satisfactory if not satisfying, It was just that the plot twists, yes more than one, were a bit extreme and I still don't know exactly how I feel about them. As a whole, I liked this series. I would recommend it to anyone who loves dystopian, action, fantasy stories as well as fans of The Hunger Games. I would definitely say it was a good series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good ending to a good trilogy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read them all in a weekend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"So wht should i do" she asked
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits for snowPaw
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bookloverer More than 1 year ago
The conclusion of the testing series was really good just what I wanted. Can't wait for the movie to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first two books were better than the third. In this one, the plot is conveyed through summary of acrion. Actions do not seem related to character. Huge questions are glossed over
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Hunger Games, Selection, Divergent, you'll enjoy this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book
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