Now in paperback! Pass, and have it made. Fail, and suffer the consequences. A master of teen thrillers tests readers’ courage in an edge-of-your-seat novel that echoes the fears of exam-takers everywhere. Ann, a teenage girl living in the security-obsessed, elitist United States of the very near future, is threatened on her way home from school by a mysterious man on a black motorcycle. Soon she and a new friend are caught up in a vast conspiracy of greed involving the mega-wealthy owner of a school testing company. Students who pass his test have it made; those who don’t, disappear . . . or worse. Will Ann be next?
For all those who suspect standardized tests are an evil conspiracy, here’s a thriller that really satisfies! Praise for Test
“Fast-paced with short chapters that end in cliff-hangers . . . good read for moderately reluctant readers. Teens will be able to draw comparisons to contemporary society’s shift toward standardized testing and ecological concerns, and are sure to appreciate the spoofs on NCLB.†? —School Library Journal
“Part mystery, part action thriller, part romance . . . environmental and political overtones . . . fast pace and unique blend of genres holds attraction for younger teen readers.†? —Booklist
Sleator (House of Stairs; Hell Phone) misses the mark with a dystopian near-future thriller that takes the doctrine of "No Child Left Behind" doctrine to extremes. The eponymous test (it "not only left kids, it got rid of them") is the all-important XCAS, and to prepare for it, students learn nothing except how to take tests; however, those who fail it cannot go to college and are barred from high-paying jobs. These have-nots are literally stuck in traffic, spinning their wheels for hours before they can reach any useful destination. Luckily Ann Forrest, the feisty heroine, can walk to and from school. When her do-gooder father, a home health aid, aggravates Mr. Warren, the mega-rich owner of the housing project where Mr. Forrest works, the Warrens send a minion on a motorcycle to attack Ann. Meanwhile Ann discovers that the Warrens also own the company that publishes the XCAS. Coincidences pile up and overload the plot: Lep, a Thai immigrant who works for the Warrens, has proof of their corruption and will do anything for Ann, who is also his classmate; a newspaper reporter just happens to witness Ann's attack; etc. Stiffly executed and obvious in its conclusions, this is more premise than story. Ages 12-up.