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Graduation Day - Joelle Charbonneau

Actually rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Graduation picks up with Raffe telling Mya that Professor Holt knows they left campus and Griffin has started looking for Damone. President Collindar wants to end Dr. Barnes' reign and end the Testing procedures. There will be a vote on the chamber floor to try to end it. The problem is, she doesn't have enough support. Mya has learned that Symon, the leader of the rebellion, is actually in league with Dr. Barnes and they don't want the testing to end. Mya's brother Zeen has joined with the rebels, mistakenly believing he is on the right side.

Although Mya hates killing, she is continually put in positions where she feels she has no choice. She puts her "friends" through tests to find out if they're loyal. Many of these tests are deadly, and it seems like an extreme way to find out if your friends are with you or against you. I found it odd that even after knowing they were tested, some with very bad outcomes, her friends weren't upset with Mya for putting them through it. Most still believed she should be in charge and make decisions.

President Collindar presents Mya with a list of twelve assassination targets. Raffe's father is on the list and while he agrees his father needs to be killed, he doesn't think all the people on the list need to go. Without consulting the president, Mya narrows down the list to four who actually are involved with the Testing. The ending is reminiscent of Mockingjay and the showdown with President Snow and President Coin, but I won't give any spoilers.

While the writing is fine and the story was interesting, I found I had to suspend belief a lot. I understand characters need to go with their gut sometimes, but with Mya, it seems like going with her gut is her default position. Very often she makes decisions on sketchy info and just a "gut" feeling. Also, I'm still not sure what the point of the Testing is. While you may want to test the mettle and the integrity of the government officials in charge, why do school teachers need to be able to kill fellow students in order to go to University? Why must doctors be able to manipulate and trick others? And shouldn't scientists be judged on their contribution to society and not on their ability to survive in the wild?

Perhaps a fourth book will answer some of these questions. Overall, it was an enjoyable book and an interesting concept. If you like dystopian series and can go along with the premise, this book might be perfect for you.