Book Review: Graduation Day
Published By: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 2014
Page Count: 304
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
After racing through the first two books in the series, I have to say that I found myself struggling slightly with Graduation Day. The set-up was all there - Cia vs The Testing! Time to bring down the establishment! Excited face!!
Cia is given an almost impossible task by the President - she must kill off ten people on a list, in a very limited time frame, to secure a future free of The Testing process. This is where the problem lay... this is a teenage girl who has barely managed to kill to defend herself before, and the President expects her to coldly kill ten people just because she says so. Very unlikely. I didn't find it surprising that Cia spent a considerable time mulling this over, and came to the conclusion that she probably should kill at least some of the people off but she would need help to do so - so she sets about enlisting her teenage friends to help.
I liked the fact that Cia would have to essentially construct a very miniature version of The Testing for her friends, so she could see who was trustworthy. It made her question what methods were justified in testing someone, and there was a nice symmetry to the books that the testee became the tester... however the tests she developed were a bit weak and it took a long time to get past this... it dragged a bit.
There was an attempt at a plot twist towards the end of the book, which I didn't see coming for the sole reason that it seemed really out of character. I enjoy well developed moments that make me reframe my thoughts about a character, but I felt the change here was too much to really believe.
All in all, I was a little disappointed by the martyr-like approach taken in Graduation Day. It didn't follow on very well from the previous two in terms of holding my interest or keeping the tension.
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.