First Test is book one of the Protector of the Small quartet, and in a lot of ways, I think it’s a stronger series than The Song of the Lioness. The main character, Kel, represents a type of woman I don’t think we see enough of in current YA literature. She’s tough, yes, but also thoughtful and self aware. She’s not a girl searching for her identity — she already knows who she is and what she wants. There’s something about Kel’s voice that’s very refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tris’s and Katniss’s of the YA world, but there’s something a little more real in Kel. Something more… introspective, I suppose.
Anyway, if you want a great YA read — or if you’re writing MG/YA, especially with a female MC — definitely don’t miss this one. It’s a little old, yes– but it was a NYT bestseller for a reason. 🙂