Thursday, January 20, 2011


It has been a number of years since I picked up a Sleator book. Although this novel Test, was written several years before, it may very well be of interest to readers who live survival type and changing society type novels. The book cover caught my interest and I wanted to see if it was somewhat in the vein of Hunger Games. Survival being the seemingly key phrase.

Set in an America in the future (one I do not think I would like living in) where testing determines what kind of a life high school graduates will live. Everything is geared to these tests. Unless you have power and money, this America is no place for anyone. Ann and her family are barely surviving, even if both parents are working. The working poor are at even more of a disadvantage. Ann is trying desperately to make sure she pass the senior XCAS in order to have a chance a better life. There is a boy in her class who is obviously an immigrant, but is doing surprisingly well with the practice tests. Ann wonders how Lep can do so well when his English is actually not very good.

Adding to her anxiety is the fact that her father is getting into trouble with his employer by trying to help the people (read poor and mostly immigrants) who live in the building in which he is employed. Things are getting so bad that it seems Ann is being targeted for harassment by a strange man riding a motorcycle. The more her father tries to help, the worse it gets. Finally Ann starts putting little pieces of odd coincidences together and figures out that the tests are being used to control the population. Once this happens and she starts asking questions, Ann is in even more danger.

The plot is an interesting one, I found that Sleator story lines are always just a little more outside the box. The characters are interesting but not necessarily ones that I found that sympathetic. I liked Ann's determination and willingness to sacrifice herself for the principles in which she believed. Lep's initial fear and then his show of bravery at the protest rang true. I think that readers will find Test interesting and can relate to the characters. I liked the upbeat ending to the story and even though it was somewhat contrived, I still like that the good guys come up on top

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