Author: Courtney Summers
Published: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: 5 stars
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"I woke up and the last piece of my heart disappeared. I opened my eyes and I felt it go.”My Thoughts
― Courtney Summers, This is Not a Test
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? (Goodreads)
First off, I love the author's name. The first name: Courtney. What an awesome name, huh? ;) Secondly, she has the same last name as Buffy Summers from my favorite show. I know, I'm ridiculous.
This is Not a Test was so fantastic I read almost all of it in one sitting. And I stayed up insanely late. It was gripping and creepy. It leaves a haunting feeling afterwards and gave me shivers. This is Not a Test had such a wild premise. In every other zombie novel, everyone fights to survive,desperate to keep living. Sloane isn't even hanging on anymore. She doesn't want to live. For her, life before the zombie attack was worse. This was a unique twist, and it really made the story unique.
I don't like zombies, but I loved This is Not a Test because the book really isn't about the walking dead. It's more about the teenagers hiding in the school. Slowly, more and more is revealed about the characters and their personalities. Their interactions are definitely entertaining, and I never felt bored even though very little happened. It wasn't the action-packed book zombie reads usually are, with chases and a fight for survival. Most of the time, they were in the school, safely tucked away. But the characters really made the story, and I was constantly wondering what they would do next. I wanted to learn more about them. Even if I didn't like every character, I wasn't supposed to, and I still felt invested in all of their lives.
I had worried before starting This is Not a Test that I wouldn't be able to sympathize with the protagonist, but it didn't bother me that Sloane was suicidal. She had been through so much, and a part of her was just gone. She was so disconnected from the world, and her depression was very realistic. I thought her suffering was justified, and she isn't a stagnant character. She was a tortured but innocent soul, as she had little life experience besides pain, and she really learns and grows as the book develops. Her curiosity and her fear, not of the zombies but of angry men, was so sad and moving.
Of course, there was some romance. This is Not a Test is a young adult book. It's bound to happen, but the plot did not revolve around the romance in the slightest. The romance was a nice touch, and it was more of a growing experience than a romantic interest. I just found it amusing that of all the people Sloane could get stuck with in a high school during a zombie attack, she happened to find herself with a guy that would understand her. It didn't bug me but just amused me. I will warn that there is a lot of cursing and explicit details in this book. It didn't seem forced or contrived though. And I'm certainly not complaining about some of the steamier details. But just be warned that it might not be for too young of a crowd.
I am so happy This is Not a Test seems to be a standalone and not part of a series. Summers said there might, MIGHT, be a sequel eventually, but I really hope not. I was more than happy with just this one. I'm worried that another book will be too much. I loved This is Not a Test more than I could've imagined! It was such a wonderful read and I will hold it in my memory for a long time. A new favorite!